For the first time in over a decade, we did not build our sukkah this year. Our sukkah parts are heavy and need to be put together by someone with height and strength. (I’ll pause while you snicker about my lack of both.) Most years, Bill has a day off work sometime between Yom Kippur and Sukkot and is able to do this. He doesn’t love it but he does it. This year, though, he had some extra work days at the store and you know the rest. Boys are uninterested in doing the work, so here we are.
In an O. Henry twist, for the first time in ages I have the luxury of time during Sukkot and no sukkah to sit in. My days are looser than they have been in a good long time, and while I have several projects that take up my attention, they are flexible to the time available and could totally be done while sitting in my sukkah in the golden autumn sunlight.
And yet in this time of in-between-ness, I scarcely need a reminder of impermanence. Where once I thought I would happily live out my remaining working days serving and building the community at Ohabei Shalom, that my work there would satisfy me indefinitely, those assumptions have crumbled, like the walls of an impermanent house. I am confident there will be another home for me, but what a rich and complicated gift to be in between at Sukkot.
You don’t get to go someplace new without leaving. At the moment I am far from the shore.
There is so much leaving and wandering in our tradition. Abraham leaves his father’s house and gives up his tradition in pursuit of what he knows to be true. Moses brings the people out of Egypt and forty years of wandering ensue. And the Torah ends with the end of the wandering. Or does it? The text actually gives us a cliffhanger: Moses cannot enter, leadership is transferred to Joshua, and then what? The topic returns to Moses. There is no mention of the people actually crossing over into the holy land. We are always becoming, always searching, always wrestling.
I am nowhere. I am now here.
Hineini. What’s next?