We came home today after a quick trip to Meissen, Germany. Home is the apartment in Prague we moved into three weeks ago. We know where everything is here, and we have our new routines down. We know, finally, how to operate the washing machine. We know the neighborhood, including our two favorite restaurants, and we know where to put our recycling. We’ve been watching workers remove the cobblestones on sections of sidewalk, dig trenches, lay cable, fill in the trenches, and replace the cobblestones in decorative patterns.
We know our way around the nearest public square, where we get on the subway to go sightseeing, shop at our usual grocery store, print files at our copy shop, and get cash at our bank machine. We can make change in Czech koruny. (They don’t use the euro here in Czechia.)
We are comfortable in our home in Prague. And next week, we leave to spend a month in Italy.
Traveling the slow way, with no house waiting for us back in the United States, is good practice in accepting impermanence.
So is the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. For a week, Jews are supposed to live at least part of each day in a sukkah, a temporary structure with a roof of branches or reeds that has enough gaps to feel raindrops and see stars.
For this re-post, I polished up my 2013 post on the Torah reading for the week of Sukkot: Sukkot: Temporary and Permeable.
We too are temporary and permeable. My husband and I are traveling abroad now because we know the improvement in our health is temporary; someday we will decline again, and someday we will die.
Since life is temporary, why not make the most of it? Since every home and every habit is temporary, why not embrace change? And since every soul is permeable, why not open ourselves to joy and edification as well as sorrow?
In Jewish liturgy, Sukkot is known as “The Season of Our Rejoicing”.