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28- Sandcastles (Sukkot)

In this episode, Rabbi Lehrfield dives into the holiday of Sukkot.


Hey everybody. I'm Menachem Lehrfield. And this is 0% where we explore world changing ideas, introduced by Judaism. We've been focusing with a few breaks in between, on the Jewish holidays and how each one of the holidays in its own way brings out the growth mindset. Research, how we see all of the ideas and concept we talked about at the beginning of the season, coming to life in the way we practice and mark time, we talked about the holiday of Russia, Ashana, the new beginnings. We moved on to yo Kippur a day that doesn't even exist without a growth mindset a day. That is all about the concept that I can constantly change. I can constantly grow. I can constantly become someone and something different. I can become better. I'm not afraid to embrace the idea that the real me may be different than the current me that I can change. And then we get to the holiday of SU coat Suko in a way is a culmination of the high holiday period. We start with Rashana Rashana is where we identify what we want our ideal relationship with odd to look like. Then we get to Yom Kippur where we try and figure out what's not right in that relationship. What part or aspect of that relationship needs work. And Suko is where we actually put it into practice. We test it out. There's a huge difference between the realm of the theoretical and the practical. It's very easy to say that I believe something or I say something or I'm committed to something, but it's a lot harder to actually do it. Suko the primary aspect of Suko is that we leave the comfort and the security of our homes. And we're told as we find the verse in Leviticus, 2343, that during these seven days, you should live in booths. Every native in Israel should live in such fated huts on SU coat. We are told to leave our safe and protected home and to go outside under the elements. And the idea is that as we go through this experience of showing our trust than the almighty of reminding ourselves, that ultimately the outcome of our actions is completely out of our hands. When we go back into our home, whens code is over, we hopefully will hold onto that message. So even when we are sitting under our real roof, even when we are, are sitting with the protection of our, the walls of our home, we're reminded that the true protection doesn't come from my security system. It doesn't come from my 401k. I am not truly in control. What makes a soca, a soca? What makes this hut that we sit in on Skoda? Soca is not the walls. It's the roof. The roof needs to be made by, with a natural material that has not been processed or affected by mankind. Meaning if I take wood and I turn it into a chair, it is now no longer usable as ha as the roof of my soca. Even if I disassemble it, even if I take it apart, it doesn't matter. Once it's turned into a chair is no longer fitting for the roof of my soca. By definition, the roof must be made of something natural. It needs to be made of something flimsy that if it rained, the rain would come through that. I could see the stars out of the, so I'm constantly, as I sit in my SCCA, looking up, I'm constantly reminded that the real security comes from above, not the physical I see through the physical. And I recognize that it is not all that matters. A wealthy businessman once came to the HTS, high him, and he saw his apartment. By the way, this story reminds me so much of, uh, Roheim KSKY who we just talked about. Several people throughout RO Heim's life came and saw how tiny and bear's apartment was. Again, it was this tiny two bedroom apartment that was filled to the brim with books. Anywhere you can see you saw books. And many times people asked him and you know, offered to buy him a bigger place. And he always refused because he wanted people to understand that you can achieve great things in Torah without having lavish great physical things. He wanted to make sure people would never use their physical situation as a way or their financial situation. I should say, as a way to excuse why they're not studying Torah. People should never say, well, I can't study Torah cause I need to make a living. And, and he said, look at, look at the way I live. And if I would get a bigger place, it would defeat that purpose. In any event, people came to the cots climb of this wealthy business. Man came to the cots climb and he looked around at this bear apartment. And he said to him, you know, where's all your stuff. Where's your furniture, where's your objects. Where's your, where are your things? So the Hait Heim turned to this traveling businessman and said, well, where's your furniture? Where are your things? And the guy said, I'm just in town for a few days. I'm visiting, I'm traveling. The HT Heim said, so am I, he saw his time in this world as nothing more than traveling. That's the idea of SU coat. It's a reminder of the temporal nature of the physical world. A reminder of the fact that whatever we might have here in a physical sense is temporary. It's here today and gone tomorrow. There's a beautiful, I don't know what you call it. It's not quite a poem. Let's call it a literary work that I came across a couple years ago from Neco Meyer. And I've been trying to find its author ever since when I look online, I, I do find it. It's one of those pieces that you see on a lot of the inspirational and quote websites, but they all just say author unknown. So I don't know who wrote this, but I think it does do a fantastic job of encapsulating the message and the theme of SU coat. It goes like this hot sun salty air rhythmic waves. A little boy is on his knees, scooping and packing the sand with plastic shovels into a bright blue bucket. Then he a upends the bucket on the surface and lifts it. And the delight of the little architect, a castle tower is created all afternoon. He will work spooning out the moat packing the walls bottle tops will be centuries. Popsicle sticks will be bridges. A sand castle will be built. Big city, busy streets, rumbling traffic. A man is in his office at his desk. He shuffles paper into stacks and delegates assignments. He cradles the phone on his shoulder and punches the keyboard with his fingers. Numbers are, are juggled and contracts are signed and much to the delight of the man. A profit is made all his life. He will work formulating the plans forecasting. The future annuities will be centuries. Capital gains will be bridges. An empire will be built. Two builders of two castles. They have much in common. They shape granules into grand jurors. They see nothing and make something. They are delighted and determined. And for both, the tide will rise and the end will come yet. That is where the similarities ceases for the boy sees the end while the man ignores it. Watch the boy as the dusk approaches as the waves near the wise child jumps to his feet and begins to clap. There's no sorrow, no fear, no regret. He knew this would happen. He's not surprised. And when the great breaker crashes into his castle and his masterpiece is sucked into the sea, he smiles, he smiles, picks up his tools, takes his father's hand and goes home. The grownup, however is not so wise. As the wave of years collapses on his castle, he is terrified. He hovers over the Sandy monument to protect it. He blocks the wave from the walls. He has made salt, water soaked and shivering. He SARS at the incoming tide. It's my castle. He defies the ocean need not respond. Both know to whom the sand belongs. We get so distracted so often and we lose sight of what's really important. We lose sight on what we're living for. Why am I here? What am I trying to accomplish? It's like, when you go to a fair or an amusement park and they have the bumper cars and you get in the bumper car and you put the harness on and you just start Dr. You know, the, the sound goes off and then everyone starts driving and bumping into each other and you knock your friend and they get whiplash. And then after a couple minutes, the car just stops moving. And everyone looks around at each other awkwardly. And it's over well, is that life we're just bumming around groping in the dark, trying to entertain ourselves so much of what we do so much of our lives are distracting us from purpose. And me to me, one of the most degrading aspects of our society is the fact that we allow ourselves to be called consumers. Think about that for a second. Just think about the term. When I call someone a consumer. What I'm saying is you are defined by the fact that you consume stuff. And that's what we do. We get stuck on this hedonic treadmill, where we're just constantly looking for another thrill and another thrill looking for the next newest phone, the next car, the new house. And then as soon as I'm done renovating the house, I start the whole process over again. At some point enough is enough. It's not that luxury are inherently bad, but when I get sucked into it, when it becomes the be all and end all of my existence, where all I'm doing is trying to AMAs more and more and more. Then I have a problem. Once a year, we have the holiday of SU coat. We have a time where we leave, leave our home. We leave, leave all the comforts and no matter how beautiful yours is, and there are some gorgeous SU coat out there. And for those who are in the Denver area, you are welcome to join me and my family. And Mysa when the holiday of Suco comes around. And I, I think, I like to think that Mysa is beautiful and, and many are many are gore. Just, they actually have designers decorated Socas, which is probably missing the whole point. And there's nothing wrong with a soca being beautiful. But the point is no matter how beautiful my soca is, I am still sitting in a hut outside. And in that way, the practice of ska and the holiday of SU coat is this great equalizer. We are all sitting under the stars. We are all under the elements in the same way, but more than that, it emphasizes and reminds me that the things that are truly are the things that are with me in this SGA, the fact that I am healthy, the fact that I have a beautiful wife and children, I have family and friends that I can invite into my SA that I can participate in this spiritual experience together with those people. Those are the things that really matter, not the materialistic drives that are eating at me every single day of the year. So coach shakes me into recognizing that I don't need to be a slave to the whims of society. I don't need to decide every single season and I need a whole new wardrobe just because some fashion designer in Milan needed to sell clothes and convince me that I needed it. Do I actually want these things? Am I okay? Being defined as someone who consumes stuffs coat helps us come to that answer, that awareness of who we really are, but more than that, the soca is referred to by our sages as the shadow of faith. It's the idea that I am protected by the almighty and the almighty alone. When I sit outside without the comforts and security of my home, I'm reminded that my real protection comes from a above. My real protection comes from God. And as I look up through the flimsy roof of Mysa, as I look through the Ock, which by the way, one of the laws is I should be able to see the stars through the Ock. I'm forced to constantly look up and recognize that, yes, I go through life and I put in the effort because I'm required to, but the effort is not what leads me to the result. The effort is my ticket into the fair. It's a requirement I'm required to put in the effort. It's the way that I show myself. And I show the almighty that I care about, whatever it is that I'm doing, that it really matters. And that I I'm invested in seeing it through, but ultimately whether or not it succeeds has nothing to do with me, whether or not it succeeds is outside of my hands. Earlier this season, we talked about the growth mindset, concept that in order to have a growth mindset, I need to race challenges and enjoy the journey we quoted from Carol Dweck's mindset, the new psychology of success, that in the fixed mindset, everything is about the outcome. If you fail, or if you're not the best, it's all been wasted. The growth mindset allows people to value what they're doing regardless of the outcome. It's about being in the here and now about enjoying the process, not just the end product, Suko reminds us that my job is to focus on what I can control my job is to focus on the journey, the process, not the end result. The soca is about being in the here and now experiencing life, as it unfolds with the people that matter. And the opportunities that matter Soko reminds me to focus on the important, not just the urgent. So that's the soca. There's another aspect of the holiday of SU coat. Another Mitzva that we do, and that is bringing together the four species. There are four special species. The Torah tells us in Leviticus 23, that you should take for yourselves on the first day of the holiday of SU coat, a fruit of a beautiful tree, a pre eights Hadar, which we know is the Etro the Citron, a Palm branch, the middle of a Palm tree, twigs of a plated tree and Brook willows that are the, these are the ha Doss and the AVOs, the Myrtle branches and the Willow branches. And you shall rejoice before Hashim your God for a seven day period. These are known as the four species. What's interesting about the four species is they all need to be taken together. Or the whole thing is worthless. If I, I take three out of the four and I wave them in all the different directions, I've done nothing, which is unusual. Cuz usually we say Judaism is not all or nothing. This is one of the big misconceptions I know people have where they say, well, I'm not religious. So I don't do X, Y, and Z, but that's a mistake cuz Judaism is not all or nothing. Fact that I like Shabbat candles. And then afterwards, get in my car and go to the movies. The action I'm doing by going to the movies. Doesn't invalidate the fact that I lit Shabbat candles beforehand. It doesn't invalidate all the good things that I did. It's always better to do something than to do nothing but not. When it comes to the four species. If I take three out of the four, I've done literally nothing. And the reason why is that each one of the four species represents a different type of Jew. And the bringing together of the four species represents the unity of the Jewish people. If one type of Jew, if one person is missing, the whole thing doesn't work like the store are. We told earlier in the season, the conductor knows when one musician is missing because we each have a part to play. And if we don't play that part, it's lacking. This speaks to the growth mindset idea that we mentioned earlier of focusing on the uniqueness of each person, recognizing that one of us is unique and each one of us has something special to offer.

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