Linda Pardes Friedburg
Linda Pardes Friedburg
Russian-speaking American Israeli Community-building Mom

Sukkot – Our True Essences

This morning, I had time to scroll through some of the beautiful thoughts that Sivan Rahav Meir sends to my phone every day, beginning with the clip above, from the end of Yom Kippur on Dizengoff Square Tel Aviv.

She told the over 1,000 participants in the outdoor prayer service there, organized by Rosh Yehudi, that they were breathing the clearest air in recent history reported by meteorologists, not only because of the lack of polluting traffic on Yom Kippur.

And that the last 25 hours of this tefilla gathering had expressed their essences, and proved that the hunger they feel after the fast is also a hunger for unity and uplifting experiences together – between religious and secular, Tel Avivians and Jerusalemites.

Sivan also reminded me that today is Rabbi Nachman of Breslav’s 211th yahrtzeit and brought one of his piquant quotes:
“.אני איש פלא, ונשמתי פלא גדול. חידוש כמוני לא היה מעולם”
I am a wondrous creation, with a wondrous soul. A revelation like me, never existed before in our world.”

The true essence of each of us is wondrous and unique. After the purifying, grounding process of Elul, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, Sukkot is the ultimate time to feel this way, sitting in our Sukkah – at best without our cellphones – feeling joy not from our possessions or achievements, but from being ourselves and connecting with nature, our friends, our family, our faith, and with the collapsed and rebuilt Sukkah of Jewish history.

Sitting in the Sukkah, I feel joy in the fullest sense of Jewish tradition – aware that nothing is ever permanent or certain in our lives, and that being present in the moment and connected to the Source of our unique souls is the best recipe for Simcha, on this Holiday of Rejoicing and always.

Moadim L’Simcha and Chag Sameach!

About the Author
Linda Pardes Friedburg made Aliyah from New Jersey in 1990. She is Founding Director of Shishi Shabbat Yisraeli National Jewish Leadership Initiative for Young Russian-Speaking Israelis, is grateful for her six kids and one Belarussian husband, and still feels the need to pinch herself every time she drives up the hill to Neve Daniel, Gush Etzion, their home since 1994.
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