Sukkot holiday: A mom finds comfort, and inspiration, from sukkot ghosts
Sukkot is a Jewish holiday spanning seven days, a holiday for ghosts that ends with Yizkor service that memorializes the dead. For this mom, the ghosts of Sukkot bring comfort – and some parenting inspiration.
(Page 2 of 2)
I want to introduce my daughter Anna to Sara Schenirer. Hunched over her sewing machine, she had a revelation. Or was it a moment of despair that gave way to lucidity? She dared to imagine girls in their own schools studying Torah. It was a radical idea in the late 19th century. Although nowhere near egalitarian, the fact that girls had a classroom of their own to be formally educated was inspiring and enduring and just. I want Anna to know that she is the direct beneficiary of Sara Schenirer’s prescience.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
I love spirits. I buy into the notion that there are other times during the year for formal visitation from phantasmagoric souls. There are the seven days of shiva or mourning. The week during which the sheva b’rachot – the seven blessings following a marriage – are celebrated. We boldly mingle with our ancestors on Passover when Elijah joins us and Miriam remembers us with a shake of her timbrel.
But it’s on Sukkot that I reflect on people I would give almost anything to see again. I close my eyes and see my father healthy and strong. I remember my father-in-law’s mega-watt smile and can-do optimism. I feel the presence of Anna’s namesake – a grandmother whom I adored. I miss my friend Miriam so much that I ache. My sukkah is a space painted in a full spectrum of memories and emotional colors.
It makes sense that a holiday that welcomes ghosts to the dinner table would end with Yizkor – the service to memorialize the dead. Yom Kippur and the three harvest festivals – Sukkot, Passover and Shavuot – are the four times a year there is time and space to mingle with loved ones who have died.
What comforts me most about remembering my dead on Sukkot is that I can walk out of my fragile sukkah into the sturdy structure of community where, I believe, a lot of people understand that otherworldly visitors frequently stop by throughout the year.
The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best family and parenting bloggers out there. Our contributing and guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor, and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs.