A Bisl Torah


There is a midrash that likens the chag of Shemini Atzeret to the image of a parent begging their child to stay a little longer. That after celebrating for a series of days, God can’t imagine leaving and instead, implores us to sit and wait a bit. Relax…the rest of the world can wait.

My father is skilled in the art of an extended goodbye. Whenever I would come home from college (the long hour drive from Los Angeles to Orange County) and it was time to leave, he would say, “You should really go after the traffic has died down.” “Why don’t you leave in the morning? We can stay up, make popcorn, and have a movie night.” Even now, with three children of my own, my dad will tease, “You can all stay the night. Just get up early. C’mon, relax, stay a little bit longer.”

Shemini Atzeret is over, Simchat Torah has faded away and the “beginning” of the year is in full swing. It is hard to imagine a five-day work week. And yet, the lessons of the Jewish holiday season should not be so quickly packed away. As we have explored our mortality over Yom Kippur and reflected over the fragility of life while sitting in the sukkah, lingering with our loved ones is perhaps the greatest gift we are given. Taking a few more moments to hear each other’s stories. Sharing memories. Laughing. Crying. Doing nothing. Later realizing that the lingering, it was everything.

Our relationship with God is a metaphor for the relationships in our lives. We could never imagine saying no to a God that asks us for more time. And think of the wonderful surprises we just might experience in saying yes to a loved one that asks us to stay… just a little bit longer.

May the rushed beginning of this year include many moments of lingering, staying, basking in the glow of someone else that wants you close. The rushing will always be there. But the lingering…these are the moments we’ll hold for a lifetime.

Shabbat Shalom

In partnership with The Jewish Journal, you can also find Rabbi Guzik’s blog post HERE.

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