Off the Pulpit: Here to Stay

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

After Yom Kippur comes Succot. Repentance, then rain.

Succot actually reinforces the theme of Yom Kippur in a powerful way. The Day of Atonement teaches the brevity of life – who shall live and who shall die. Coming off the day we might feel insecure, knowing that we are fleeting, as if singled out to be momentary beings on the face of time. But Succot reminds us that nothing lasts – not the structures of human beings, not even the natural materials from which we compose our homes.

Judaism recognizes only the permanence of God. Everything else moves through the scythe of time.

Understanding that we share this with all living things may not make it painless, but certainly makes it easier. Do you get older? So too does everything, from stars to earth. With a little twist, Gershwin got it right:

“In time the Rockies may crumble/ Gibraltar may tumble/ They’re only made of clay/ But God’s love is here to stay.”

(Rabbi David Wolpe is the senior rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.)

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