Arnold D. Samlan
Jewish Educational Leader, South Florida

May You Find Balance in This Off Balance Season

By this point, those of us who are fairly traditional Jews begin to get confused every year.

These weeks are disorienting, as we work for a few days of each work week, take a few days off, work again and off again — all while trying to do a full week’s work in half the days.

A similar disorientation is actually part of the holiday of Sukkot that begins late Sunday:  Then we go out to the Sukkah to eat, come back inside, go back outside.

In both of these situations, our Jewish traditions keeps us a bit off balance, but also keeps us on or toes.

If, as I believe, the purpose of the Jewish tradition is to transform who we are as humans, then this off-balance piece makes perfect sense: When we are in secure and predictable places and times, there is little incentive to change and to grow. On the other hand, the on-again off-again work week pushes us to rebalance our work-life lives and moving between the sukkah and the home is a reminder that even “the roof over our head” is not to be taken for granted, but is something that needs to be re-valued. Indeed, for many people, there is no roof or home and food isn’t even a given.

So, while we struggle to remember what day of the week it is (when the next work week begins on Tuesday or Wednesday) and whether we’re going to be feasting outdoors or living inside, let’s learn from it. This is the time to be creatively off-balance and to use this opportunity to re-calibrate our lives and our values.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach!

About the Author
Rabbi Arnie Samlan, Chief Jewish Education Officer of the Jewish Federation Broward County, Florida, Is a rabbi and Jewish educator whose work has impacted Jewish learners, community leaders and professionals across North America. All blog posts are his personal opinions and are not meant to reflect viewpoints of the Jewish Federation.
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