Parashat Chol HaMo-eid Sukkot

Friday, September 24, 2021/18 Tishrei, 5782
Parashat Chol HaMo-eid Sukkot Exodus 33:12–34:26

Dear Friends,

During our normally scheduled weekly Torah readings, each year, there are moments where we derail from the general readings to share special readings for holidays. Sukkot, spanning 7 (or 8) days is one such moment, when we stray from the order of reading Torah, to reexamine a different portion.

On the Shabbat during Sukkot, we revisit one of my favorite portions from Exodus. This is the moment when Moses is insistent about seeing the Holy One of Being. God shares with Moses that experiencing the Divine Presence, face to face would be too much for anybody to handle, so in a protective moment, God places Moses into a cleft in the rock, as God’s presence passes before Moses and he witnesses God from behind.

So too is it often in life. We may not always notice God, when we are face to face, for it may be too much for us to be able to perceive, but we can often witness God’s presence, after it has passed us. During our meditation services, it has become our practice during the Nisim B’chol Yom prayer, the miracles of every day, to share with each other those moments where we have witnessed the Divine Presence in our lives. Miracles are not just awesome events that defy explanation, they are truly moments where we realize that God’s hand has been present in what we have witnessed or experienced. They are those moments where we realize that God is in this place.

May we always keep our eyes open in 5782 to witness these moments of Divinity. May God’s holy presence always pass before us, and may we have our eyes open enough to recognize those moments in our lives.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Same’ach,
Cantor Ilan