Rabbi Sherman’s Weekly Torah Commentary – October 2-3, 2020 (15 Tishrei 5781)

October 2-3, 2020
15 Tishrei 5781
Sukkot Day 1

Looking for some company during this time of isolation and limited movement? The holiday of Sukkot offers us the custom of ushpizin – welcoming guests, real or imagined, ancient or modern, living or dead, into our Sukkah. Traditionally, people invited biblical figures. Today, the guests list can be unlimited! Whom would you invite to your Sukkah? Family members who live far away and cannot visit? A loved one who is deceased and greatly missed? Perhaps a political or historic figure? And once your invited guests “visit” the Sukkah, what would you ask them? What would you want to say to them? Sukkot is the perfect opportunity for hospitality and also to connect or reconnect with these special people.

Sukkot (literally booths or huts) refers to the festival of giving thanks for the fall harvest. It also commemorates the 40 years of wandering in the desert. We read from Parashat Emor the instructions to dwell in Sukkot for seven days. Once the Sukkah is built, we eat, study, sing, relax, visit with family and guests, and even sleep in it! The Sukkah’s temporary nature reminds us how fortunate we are to live in permanent structures the rest of the year.

Sukkot is also called Chag He-Asif (Festival of the Ingathering) and Z’man Simchateinu (Season of Our Rejoicing). We give thanks for the harvest and are commanded to rejoice.

Please join our Shabbat Sukkot celebrations on Channel 1960:

Friday at 4:30 PM – Shabbat Sukkot Ma’ariv (Evening Service) & Blessing for October birthdays
Saturday at 10:00 AM – Shabbat Sukkot Shacharit (Morning Service)
Sunday at 10:00 AM – Shabbat Sukkot Shacharit (Morning Service)

We will gather (distanced, with limited seating) in the Sukkah for blessings and a to-go snack at 2:00 PM on Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday afternoons. Reservations are required. All slots are filled for the weekend, but there still a couple spots open for Tuesday.

If you have not yet returned your Machzor (Holy Day prayer book), please leave it on your ledge for pickup. You may keep the white, paperback Yizkor (memorial) booklet.

Candle lighting times for the city of Mission Viejo:
Friday evening at 6:15 PM
Saturday evening light holiday candles after 7:08 PM
Sunday evening holiday ends at 7:07 PM

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach
Happy Sukkot!
Rabbi Sherman