Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Journey, Foreigner, My Sukkah

Erev Sukkot,
14 Tishrei, 5772
October 12th, 2011

A friend of mine graciously invited me along to the Bowl last night, for what sounded like the Greatest. Concert. Ever. That’s right, 80’s throwbacks, I saw Journey and Foreigner live.  I was a juke box hero. I was ready to rock.

The stress of the High Holy Days always turns freneticism into normality. There’s simply so much to do, so much to worry about, that my mind continually darts from mental place to place without any sense of stillness. Though I love the Days of Awe, they rarely bring me peace.

I stepped into that concert with that stress still on my shoulders. But at some point in the middle, I realized that I was a different person. The old me had returned.

So what was it about an awesome, cheesy, big-haired 80’s concert that transformed me? Simply that, in the midst of 18,000 people, you can’t really go anywhere but the bathroom. And that, with 80’s rock decibels, you can’t really do anything but listen to the music (and rock out, of course).

There are many blessings to not being able to leave. There are even more to having to pay attention to where you are. The problem with contemporary life is that there’s too much of it: we rarely have the opportunity to let our minds rest on any one thing. At ridiculous power-rock concerts, one doesn’t have much of a choice.

The introduction to Sukkot is clear and inevitable: “A person should live in the sukkah seven days, just in the manner that a person resides in his house during the rest of the year.” We just pick up our lives and move them to the sukkah. For seven days, space and attention are changed. If we do it right, it’s hard to exit into real life. And that’s the point: only when we can’t really leave does the magic take over.

May nothing take you away from your sukkah,
Hag Sameah,
Rabbi Scott Perlo

1 comment:

  1. Rabbi Perlo,

    I live in an apartment and don't have a sukkah, but I understand what you mean by freneticism seeming normal. Fortunately, I have enjoyed several days of Sukkot at shul and with friends. Even short visits in the sukkah can be magical. It provides a much needed respite from real my humble opinion.