Fragility and Strength: A Litany of Hope for Sukkot



The sukkah is a symbol of fragility.

We build the temporary structure each year and know that it is only meant to last for the week-long holiday. It sways in the breeze. The raindrops land inside. The animals nibble at our decor. We know it could come crashing down on us.

The blessings of our health is so fragile. The vibrancy of our children sways in the breeze, and sometimes the raindrops hit our lives. A diagnosis… it all comes crashing down.

The sukkah is a symbol of uncertainty.

We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. We only know that here and now, we stand together in our uncertain structure. We build without looking at the weather forecast. Will this be the year that snow keeps us inside?

What will tomorrow bring? Will the next test show a new worry? Will the next day bring pain and tears or will smiles rule the day? Day by day, each one is different. We don’t know what we don’t know.

The sukkah is a symbol of hope.

We build the structure, knowing that we will celebrate even if its isn’t perfect. We know that it will be messy and there will be bugs and breezes and leaves floating in the soup. And yet we call this time “zman simchateinu,” the time of our rejoicing. We celebrate.

We believe that he will return to health. We must hold on to the hope of the skilled hands of his doctors and nurses. We fight and fight and fight because we see the future in his eyes. We talk about tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. We plan and prepare. And we celebrate today.

The sukkah is a symbol of our strength.

We build, knowing that we are vulnerable. We build, knowing that it may all collapse. But we still build. And that is our strength. Year after year, we build and re-build. We share our fragile strength with others and we grow stronger.

We are strong because we continue the fight, and we are not alone. For Jack and Ian and Jake and Eric and Bo and Carli and Hannah and Cara and Ari and Mia and Mya and Aidan and Donna and Blake and Sam and…Day after day…we build, knowing that we are vulnerable. We build, knowing that it may all collapse. But we still build.

Z’man simchateinu – each day of life is the time of our rejoicing.

Originally posted at Ima On and Off the Bima

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Rabbi Phyllis Sommer

About Rabbi Phyllis Sommer

Associate Rabbi at Am Shalom in Glencoe, IL and mama to four sweet munchkins...

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