Posts Tagged ‘spine’

Sukkot is one of my favorite holidays.  To me, it represents finding the gifts in life as well as valuing the simplicity of what is.  While we can say that Sukkot סֻכּוֹת is a biblical harvest holiday celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei and is also known as the Festival of Booths.  Sukkot is also the holiday of profound symbols that remind us of  how important is is to walk through the world consciously.

As a both a Youth Education Director of Temple Emanu-El Kurn’s Religious School in Tucson and as a mother, I thrive on the symbolisms of Sukkot; in recent years I refer to each symbolism as life’s metaphors.  While each symbolism has a name and concept associated with it, they can also be an awareness for what’s most important in life.  This reality was brought home to me this week by one of my third grade students Selina Feldman who drew a picture for her parents showing what she learned about Sukkot during Religious School.

What does a lulav and etrog really represent?

The irony of this picture is that Selina did not refer to these symbols as the four species, she responded more to the explanation of the methaphors.  For more info see the  below link.


The four specifies remind us how we can walk through life:

  • Stand tall like the palm; each of us have a spine.
  • Remember to look at the world through open eyes; the myrtle might look plain, but it smells divine and is shaped like our eyes.
  • We have lips to speak; may we use our words wisely.  The willow appears to be a simple shape, we have the responsibility to talk gently and honestly; watching not only our words, but how we use our words makes a difference to those that experience them.
  • Each of us are blessed with a heart.  The etrog reminds us to move forward with an open heart and to be kind to others as we walk in the world.

I find it fascinating that Selina only noted the symbolism and not what the symbolism was called.  As an educator it made my eyebrows rise; as a human being I am profoundly proud that she understood the metaphors.

The second major symbol that touches me is the sukkah.  A sukkah (shown below) reminds me of my love of voluntary simplicity; living consciously within both my values.  In fact, I will be giving a workshop on that in mid-November and early December as part of our Adult Education offerings at Temple Emanu-El.

‘Ufros Aleinu Sukkat Shlomecha ופרש עלינו סכת שלומך — Spread over us Your shelter of peace’ is a verse from the Hashkiveinu prayer which Jews say during their evening prayers.  It also a song that is sung again and again throughout the holiday of Sukkat.  When when I think about the sukkah and this song, I find myself reflecting on my desire to create both a positive Religious School environment and loving home.  This happens when a community and a family come together as a team.  Together we can co-create a sukkah, a structure that feels complete and peaceful too.

May each of Sukkot’s symbols make us more thoughtful of our roles in the world.   In most every way, we make a difference when we realize that how we walk in the world can make a difference for good!

Chag Sameach, Happy Holiday!

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