October 21, 2005

BUILDING THE SUKKAH:

Believing is seeing (Rabbi David Aaron, Oct. 21, 2005, Jewish World Review)

Our task and goal on these holy days, is to use these metaphors of King, Father and Lover towards building our consciousness and awareness of G-d, so that we can receive and experience G-d's guiding power, forgiveness and love.

With every word of prayer and every detail of the holiday rituals, we are constructing the necessary channels to bring the Divine truth into our life. Think of these metaphors as the code number to a great combination lock. The Torah gives us the right combination of metaphors necessary to unlock the vault and get to the real treasure of Divine truth.

We need to believe that G-d is like a King and Judge, who stands over us and judges us on Rosh Hashanah. We then need to believe that G-d is also like a forgiving Father, who picks us up, supports us and forgives us on Yom Kippur. And on Sukkos, we need to believe that G-d is like our Lover, close to us, holding us in His loving embrace. All these images in combination unlock the door to our intimate communion with G-d on Simchas Torah.

This is the true meaning and power of faith. Faith is not a collection of ideas that we adopt. It is an orientation to life and to the Source of all life — G-d. Faith is a way of seeing. Unlike the popular saying "Seeing is believing" — the Kabbalah teaches, "Believing is seeing." In other words, the greater our faith is in G-d, the more G-d can become manifest in our lives. The more we believe that G-d is like a King, the more Divine power and guidance can enter in to our lives. The more we believe that G-d is like a compassionate Father, the more compassion and forgiveness can become manifest in our lives. And the more we believe that G-d is like a Lover, the more Divine love, intimacy and oneness can fill our lives.

Our major life's work is to build — with proper ideas, words and actions — a sukkah of faith, a perceptual dwelling that we can take with us even in the desert-like barren times of our lives. The more we believe in G-d's guidance, forgiveness and love, the more we can receive them.

To sum it up, the cycle of the High Holidays that begins on Rosh Hashanah and ends on Simchas Torah is all about love.

Available on Rosh Hashanah is a whole new level of awareness of our eternal connection to G-d, unlike anything we have experienced before. From Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur we acknowledge our failings, feel the pain of remorse and bitterly regret distancing ourselves from G-d. However, we also realize that the feelings inspired by these days of judgment actually support, empower and build us.


The wise man once said: "blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 21, 2005 8:06 AM
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