My Sukkot Speech

Tuesday, 29 October, 2019 - 9:19 am

 By: David Cohen

IMG_1930.jpgSukkot is a time of change of renewal. Once a year, on this special holiday, we take a break from the ordinary and exit our homes to dwell in the Sukkah. For many, that’s an uncomfortable transition. The heat, the rain, the bugs – there are a million reasons not to enjoy it here. But Sukkot isn’t supposed to be a time of discomfort. Rather the opposite. We’re supposed to enjoy dwelling in this hut. In fact, one of the commandments of the holiday of Sukkot is to be joyful. So, what can we learn from this?


We’re fortunate to have the high holidays line up with the beginning of each new school year. Many of us are experiencing radical change in our lives right now. Between the things we knew we'd put up with (classes, making new friends) and the things that we hadn’t accounted for (like setting aside a 2.5 hour block for laundry, and pledgeship), we've all had our lives turned upside down since being in Austin. 


For those of us who aren't freshmen or transfers, adjustments were still made. Maybe it's your first year having to live off-campus. Maybe you're living in a fraternity or sorority house, having to put up with late nights or other shenanigans. Maybe this is your first year off a meal plan.


Sukkot is a yearly reminder that while all of these changes may stress you out and push you outside of your comfort zone, we’re supposed to appreciate it all. And we should enjoy life. Otherwise what are we doing?


On Yom Kippur, we look inside ourselves and search for problems that need to be resolved. On Sukkot, we do the exact opposite. We enter the outdoors and look externally, and instead of focusing on the negative, we appreciate the beauty and unpredictability of the great outdoors, and life itself. 


Sukkot is about optimism. It’s about finding light in the darkest places. It’s about being thankful for what we have and who we’re with. 


So, as we abandon our homes and enter the Sukkah, you should temporarily abandon your stress and concerns, and focus on what matters in life. In the Sukkah, focus on the big picture, not the nitty gritty of the everyday. In the Sukkah, rediscover your love for life. 
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