Shabbat Hol HaMo’ed Sukkot 5783

In keeping with our custom to explore a chapter of Kohelet, Ecclesiastes, on Sukkot, I tried making sense of chapter 6 of this Biblical scroll. When I read the last verse of the chapter, I felt that the text was “throwing shade” at me. Do you know that expression? The urban dictionary defines it as “acting in a casual or disrespectful manner toward someone.” But in this case, shade is a fitting metaphor.
Here’s the JPS translation of the verse in question: “Who can possibly know what is best for man to do in life–the few days of his fleeting life? For who can tell him what the future holds for him under the sun?” The sentiment is clear enough–simply put, we don’t know the future, so it’s futile to plan ahead. But the translation ignores one short Hebrew phrase: “Veya’asem katzel,” which literally means “and he will make them like a shadow.” What do those words actually mean? What do they say about the uncertainties of life?
On Shabbat morning, I’ll dig deeper into these words, and share a fascinating custom I learned this week about the night of Hoshana Rabbah, the last intermediate day of Sukkot. It may even encourage you to consider the greatness of the shadow you cast!
And speaking of Hoshana Rabbah, I am so glad that we are celebrating it with a concert! I hope you’ll join us for the long-awaited arrival of Soulfarm & Sari, To get you excited, here are a few clips of the band.
Vintage live performance of a Sukkot song
You’ll get the urge to Unwind
Soulfarm & Sari cover Kohelet/Seeger
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom and Mo’adim Lesimhah,
Rabbi David Wise
Candle lighting: 5:58 PM
Torah Reading: Exodus 33:12-34:26
Maftir: Numbers 29:26-31
Haftarah: Ezekiel 38:18-39:16