13 Tishri 5779 – Haazinu

I found it so heartwarming to see a full Shul over Yom Kippur and I really hope you found our services meaningful and inspiring. I shout out a big ‘thank you’ to all those who made it possible including our Chazzanim, president and board of management, office team, CSG and the many volunteers involved. It was  a wonderful team effort and the spirit of warmth and unity that is our community was truly on show. Thank G-d, our community is visibly growing and I look forward to building on this further in the coming year.

We have spent many hours developing our relationship with G-d whilst inside a holy environment, inside our Shul. But the true test is now. Can our relationship stand when we go outside into the wider world? Will we still be faithful when the winds blow against us and the rain seeps in? So we sit in a Sukkah to show G-d that no matter what comes up against us we will remain committed to our ideals and dreams. In return, G-d surrounds us with Divine protection and covering (sechach) as a form of loving embrace.

A story is told of a young girl sitting aboard a flight from Australia to Los Angeles. The plane manoeuvres through disturbing turbulence as it passes over the Pacific Ocean. Despite the turbulence, the young girl remains calm and continues reading her novel with perfect composure. The man sitting next to her, however, is not faring as well. With each bump of the airplane, he grabs his armrest and looks in horror at the people around him. He is preparing to perish in the air.

A few hours later, the plane touches down at Los Angeles airport and the man is finally relieved of his worries, yet troubled by his neighbour’s easy calm throughout the flight. He turns to her as the plane is taxing to the gate and asks how she held no concern of the plane’s turbulent flight?

The young lady responded that, in fact, she feared little. “The captain is my father, and I trust my father.”

Life is a flight, and it is sometimes turbulent. The emotional turmoil of relationships, the anxiety of financial troubles, the overriding concerns of health and wellbeing, make us vulnerable and anxious.

This is the message of Sukkah: Faith. We are indeed outside. The winds may be heavy, and the storm fierce. The sun may be scorching and the climate unfriendly. But we are in a Sukkah—in G-d’s world and in His loving walls and embrace.

Avinu Malkeinu. The captain of the world is our father and we trust our father.

Wishing you and your families a Chag Sameach and I hope to see you all in Shul.

Shabbat shalom

Rabbi Yossi Friedman

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