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10/11/2022 01:18:08 PM


Rabbi Chaya Gusfield

Torah from Rabbi Chaya’s Garden

I am so excited to continue our journey together, especially during this season of Sukkot, also called zman simchateinu, the time of our joy. Friday night we will begin at 6 p.m. in the Brandeis Sukkah by sitting together, singing a few songs, and waving the lulav and etrog. It might be cold to stay long, so we will then continue upstairs for services, followed by an oneg. And then on Saturday, if you want to linger in the Sukkah some more, join me after 11 a.m. after Sing Shalom led by Jeni Markowitz-Clancy for an informal schmooze and lunch (bring your own lunch).

During these precious times we will have an opportunity to learn about Sukkot, sing together, and share what we have harvested from the High Holy Days.

There are four mitzvot, or sacred obligations of Sukkot:

  • Sitting in the sukkah
  • Waving the lulav and etrog
  • Inviting in guests
  • Experiencing joy

Each one of these requires exploring more deeply. For example, what if we don’t feel joy? Rabbi Alan Lew, z”l, said that joy is when we fully embody each moment. I hear this as it isn’t about being happy. It is about experiencing something deeper. Authenticity. Someone in my sukkah said when we are grieving or sad about missing someone who has died, when we dig deeper, we often can find the joy in having loved them. I am interested in what your idea of joy might be and why you think we have been invited to feel joy at this time.
Hope to see you at one of the events this weekend or in the future. Bring a friend!

I am here for you. Please feel free to reach out to me if you need support or have something you want to discuss. I can be reached at I work half-time, so I will get back to you as soon as I can.  If you need urgent rabbinical support, call the Or Shalom line at 415-469-5542.

Artwork by Rabbi Chaya Gusfield

Wed, February 8 2023 17 Shevat 5783