These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem


Posted on October 14, 2011 by Shibley

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Immediately following Yom Kippur, the hammer blows could be heard echoing behind my building. I was mightily surprised when I heard those construction noises following a fast, “who could be working now?” I thought, before realizing we had begun the transition to Sukkot.

All over town sukkot of all varieties began popping up on sidewalks, balconies, backyards, courtyards, even on the back of a truck. The ongoing physical labor was light-hearted, a stark contrast to the serious internal labor of the previous ten days. For me, it’s wonderful to see people rejoicing with a bounty of food while spending time with friends and family. Special thank yous to my hosts from yesterday who were just so gracious in opening and sharing their homes.

This sukkot will be one of lasting memory for the Schalit family, as they prepare to welcome home their son Gilad after five years as a captive of Hamas. While you’d be hard-pressed to find somebody who was not elated about Gilad Schalit’s return, questions are being asked about the cost. Redeeming captives is a mitzva, but at what point does the cloudy future that results from doing said mitzva mean that the mitzva should be pushed off? At this juncture, I am not presenting my view, just asking a question for discussion, one that will be debated around Shabbat tables and in sukkot all over the Jewish world.

Moadim l’simcha, Shabbat shalom.