A poem for Sukkot

Sukkot – Rain or Shine.
September 28, 2023
beerphotographer/Getty Images

I remember the Rabbi who was concerned it might rain
on Sukkot, and how that would affect all the plans.
In a fit of Torah obedience he answered himself with
well, if it rains on Sukkot, then we get wet.

As a Jew who has always wanted to be the master of
when I got wet, the idea of mandating I spend seven days
sitting outside, eating outside, and sleeping outside
makes me want to consider other spiritual paths.

It may have started when I was a car-less child.
That is my mother didn’t have a car and as she was
responsible for making sure I got places, it was an issue.
Rain, or really temperatures of any kind, always seemed

like an inconvenience to me. So I have trouble sharing
my old Rabbi’s enthusiasm for it being whatever it was.
But I’m the first Jew (and let me interrupt myself to
tell you I am certainly not the first Jew to do anything)

to admit that ninety percent of the reason we do anything
is because people before us did those things. And
I’m the last Jew (and let me interrupt myself again
to tell you I certainly hope I will not be the last Jew)

to want to break the chain of people doing the things.
So as I sit in the Sukkah this year, glancing at the stars
peeking at me through the roof (or at least I think there
are stars…I’m in Los Angeles and the lights of the city

make stars only a promise.) Glancing at these flimsy walls
(no offense Men’s Club, it’s meant to be flimsy and temporary)
Remembering, as commanded, what it must have been like
for the original links on our unbroken chain to have to wander

from place to place in the heat of the desert, somewhere
between slavery and the promised land. As I taste the
harvest of freedom off these see-through walls, just like
everyone I’ve ever known, or ever wanted to know has done

I implore anyone with capital letters who is willing to listen –
Spread over me the shelter of Your peace
That I may do the same for others
Rain or shine.

Rick Lupert, a poet, songleader and graphic designer, is the author of 27 books including “God Wrestler: A Poem for Every Torah Portion.

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