Sukkot: The Holy Harvest
The crisp air rings with transformation and glory as our seasons take a turn similar to the Jewish people’s turning during Teshuva, the ten days of repentance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. As we come indoors more often with fewer hours of sunlight and cooler temperatures that encourage us to swaddle ourselves in blankets, we receive the time to walk inside our own minds, bodies, and souls. This is the time to evaluate our place in the world. Are we becoming the people we want to be? Are we contributing to the world and our communities in meaningful ways? How do we want to continue or change our current states of being?
This new year of 5777, conveniently brings all of our high holidays that highlight both internal repentance and external celebration within the month of October. This is a time of transition and reflection toward our individual and collective paths. On the farm, the frequent October holidays parallel a very busy timeline: completing our final harvests, cleaning and clearing the land, and preparing the soil for next season. These tasks require a LOT of work, and even more so with our limited days allowed to work the land in between the Jewish holiday schedule. So how do we balance our internal and external commitments during such a hectic time?
Sukkot can provide us some answers: hope and joy.
Just as we work the land this month with our eye on the prize–finishing and entering our “off-season”–we can similarly put our focus on the culmination of our individual work that brings us to community celebration in the sukkah. The sukkah represents 2 things: (1) the outdoor booths or homes that Israelites used as they wandered throughout the desert for 40 years and (2) the idea of farmers living close to their crops during the last months of the growing season. Sukkot is one of our special Jewish holidays that brings people back to together as a community, showing us we are not alone during hard times, and lifts up our community in celebrating the literal fruits of our labor. We gain hope by gathering together as one people under a symbolic structure that simultaneously connects us to our environment and the natural world. We also stimulate joy in one another by showing gratitude for the physical abundance we have to cherish and nourish us on the farm itself: the power of food! Seeing and feeling this hope and joy down the seemingly narrow road of somber high holidays can move us forward and lift each other up. Our coming together as a cooperative, collaborative community is sacred and holy. When we work as one people and share in the gratitude of our earth’s bounty we can demonstrate a more holy harvest.
This Sukkot, bring your family into our hopeful and joyous sukkah at Ekar! Bask in the warmth that our community can make together even during the cooler months ahead. Let’s show appreciation for our food and each other while connecting with our local environment as one Jewish community. Find more information about this year’s Sukkot Fall Harvest Festival here!