I was watching a newborn baby in his mother's arms the other day (full disclosure: the mother was my daughter) and thinking of Sukkot. No I wasn't contemplating menus and cooking and guests and organization.
I was thinking about the fact that on the holiday of Sukkot we move out into the sukkah and sit under a canopy of branches and stars, and the Almighty's presence. We bring with us very few of our possessions -- a table, some chairs, some dishes -- and we recognize that we have everything we need. We acknowledge our complete and total dependence on our Creator.
The same is true with this infant. In his mother he has everything he needs -- food, warmth, security -- nothing else is necessary. She holds him or feeds him when he cries, changes his diaper when necessary, protects him from the too vigorous affection of his older sister and swaddles him in his blanket. His world is complete.
He looks up to his mother and there is absolute trust.
Our world is also complete. But we forget. Our dependence is also complete. But we lose track. The Almighty is totally trustworthy. We're distracted, we're busy. Our eyes turn to Wall Street instead of to our Father in Heaven.
Sukkot gives us the chance to stop and refocus. To relive the dependence and trust of our infancy -- as individuals and as a nation -- and to incorporate that into our present-day adult selves.
Our lives are consumed with things and errands and titles and careers and degrees and homes and the financial markets (did I mention those?) and lots of external trappings.
On Sukkot, we remind ourselves they're all irrelevant.
On Sukkot, we remind ourselves that everything we have is a gift from the Almighty.
On Sukkot, we remind ourselves of our vulnerability and dependence. And we recognize that it is good. Sukkot is the time of our joy, the time we turn to the Almighty with all that trust of an infant.
And maybe if we understand right, even just this one time a year, we will sleep like a baby too.