On Sukkot, we dream under the stars

Tomorrow is today's dream. We pray that our intentions be worthy of creation, that our dreams be worthy of actualization.

Dr. Devorah Ungar ,

Sukkah at night
Sukkah at night
צילום: ISTOCK

“Yet the timeless in you is aware of life’s timelessness,

And knows that yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream.

And that which sings and contemplates in you is still dwelling within the bounds of that first moment which scattered the stars into space…..”(Khalil Gibran)

It is Succot. The little children are asleep in the Succah, dreaming. Stars sparkle through the branches above, glistening in the darkness of the night. Reflecting perhaps the radiance of hope which sparkles through their dreams. The peaceful silence of a serene night.

The little children are asleep in the Succah, dreaming. Stars sparkle through the branches above, glistening in the darkness of the night.
Was it only a few days ago that we took the Succah down from the roof in preparation for its yearly role. Some elements in our lives have their meaning and purpose daily. And others have a specialness, which comes to life but once a year. For that brief moment, for that short amount of time, their existence is sanctified.

The children are asleep, enjoying the carefree feeling of freedom blended with intimacy, enveloped by their fathers’ arms and by the protection of the flimsy dwelling in which they slumber.

We are reminded. Of the fragility of our existence in relation to the expansiveness of Life around us. Of the minuteness of our personal lives in relation to the vastness of Life itself. Of the fleetingness of our existence in time, in relation to the timelessness of eternity. And of the oneness of our unity with nature, with the pulsing Life of the universe.

“You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.” (Desiderata, Max Ehrmann)

And yet, we believe that, along with our pure beingness, there is a Divine role to our existence. To our place in the world as Man.

We are now in the month of Tishrei. The month in which the universe was created. “Hayom Harat Olam” we say on Rosh Hashanah. Today is the day of the conception of the universe.

According to tradition, it is also the day on which Man was created.

In the Talmud, there is disagreement as to when the world was created.

“…Rabbi Eliezer says “In Tishrei the world was created ..…Rabbi Yehoshua disagrees and says: In Nissan the world was created”. (Rosh Hashanah 10b)

However, Rabbeinu Tam says that both views are correct. ”Both views are ‘the words of the living God”. The world was created both in Tishrei and in Nissan.

It is explained that it was in Tishrei that the idea of creation was conceived even though the actual creation took place in Nissan.( Mishna Berura 592:5)

The first day of Tishrei represents the day of the conception of the universe, while the first day of Nissan represents the date of the birth of the universe.

According to this interpretation, duality coexists. “God is not a man that He should lie….Would He say and not do, speak and not fulfill?” (Bamidmar 23:19). Thought and deed, intention and creation, are one.

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You” (meditation before Kaddish). We pray that our intentions be worthy of creation, that our dreams be worthy of actualization. That our thoughts, our actions be aligned with the Divine Will.

It is of interest, that Shavuot is Chag Matan Torah, The holiday of Giving of the Torah. Actually, Yom Kippur is the day on which Israel received the Torah. It was on Yom Kippur that we received the second set of Tablets. Apparently, giving and receiving do not always happen at the same time.

But the intention to receive had been set on Shavuot. It was then that we as a nation stood at Mt Sinai and committed ourselves to accepting the Torah.“Na’ase Venishma”, we answered.

The present intention is the seed from which the future action will blossom.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

On Sukkot, we sleep under the stars. Our dreams, intertwined with the peaceful rustle of nightime sounds, mingle with the morning call of birds. Dreamy nights merge with misty mornings, and we are not quite sure where lies the boundary. And perhaps, there is none. The darkness of night merges with the faint promise of early morning sunshine, awakening our souls from slumber.

Tishrei is the month in which we celebrate the creation of the universe. But Creation is an ongoing process, which continues until today. A continual unfolding of the Divine nature of the universe.

As we see each morning from our vantage point in the Sukkah, creation is a process of constant renewal of Life.

“He who in His goodness renews each day, constantly, the first act of Creation” (morning prayers)

And we each, as Man, as part of Creation, as part of Life, are involved in the daily process of renewal.

What we may think of as the end, is actually but a new beginning. And in the beginning lies the future.

On Simchat Torah we complete the reading of the Torah, only to begin again immediately with the reading of Genesis. A reminder of the cyclical, reciprocal, nature of time. Of the timelessness of Life in its eternity.

Each day is a new beginning. In which we can accept the opportunities life offers to us. A day in which we set our intentions anew.

May our course be set in the direction which will bring a life of fulfillment and blessing.

May our paths be blessed, may our dreams be blessed, as night fades into the early glow of morning.

Dr. Devorah Ungar is an American-born scientist and musician.who moved to Israel 30 years ago.