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Rabbi Lader
Rabbi Lader

Like Water for Torah…

Our festivals in the month of Tishre now turn to Sukkot and Simchat Torah. Sukkot celebrates the fall harvest and the turn of the season… from summer to fall. It was a sensitive time during ancient times in Israel: what will lie ahead? Will we have enough rain during the ensuing months to provide the nourishment and water needed so that the soil will be ready to nurture our crops for the coming year? Our prayers reflect this concern, as we will include “mashiv ha’ru’ach u’morid ha’geshem – You cause the wind to shift and the rains to fall” in the Gevurah, the second prayer of the Tefillah, at the end of Sukkot.

Here in northern Ohio, neither ancient nor modern Israel’s rain cycle is not our rain cycle; yet, there is something special about including these prayers with our own – helping us to feel connected with our Israeli brothers and sisters in their prayers for seasonal rains in the land of Israel, and reminding ourselves – we, who are so distanced from our own farming communities – that all that produce does not just “pop out from the display shelves looking like that…”

Simchat Torah brings us to the culmination of this festive season, as we happily celebrate the Joy of Torah. No sooner do we finish reading from the end of the book of Devarim/Deuteronomy, then we turn back to the book of Bereishit/Genesis and begin again – and anew.

Interestingly, our learning of Torah can be very much like rains in their season: Torah learning can be nourishing. Our Torah discussions can nurture our questioning souls and the “winds can shift” as we develop new ways of making meaning from the text. Tradition teaches that learning should be with a partner; what better way to make one’s way through the Torah during the course of the coming year than with our Shabbat morning partners. No experience necessary – all are invited and all are welcome to enjoy.

Wishing you and your families a joyous Sukkot and Simchat Torah,

 

Rabbi Enid C. Lader
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