"In the Jewish tradition, we celebrate a holiday every autumn known as Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles. It is, in part, an old harvest festival, deriving from a time when the Israelites were farmers and would give thanks every autumn when the harvest had been gathered. In fact, it is the prototype of our American festival of Thanksgiving. And in part, it is commemoration of God's protecting care over Israel during the forty years in the wilderness between Egypt and the Promised Land.
"We celebrate Sukkot by building a small annex to our homes, just a few boards and branches, inviting friends in, and drinking wine and eating fruit in it for a week of the holiday. Sukkot is a celebration of the beauty of things that don't last, the little hut which is so vulnerable to wind and rain (ours regularly collapses a day or two after we put it up) and will be dismantled at week's end; the ripe fruits which will spoil if not picked and eaten right away; the friends who may not be with us for as long as we would wish; and in northern climates, the beauty of the leaves changing color as they begin the process of dying and falling from the trees. Sukkot comes in the fall. Summer is over and sometimes the evenings are already chilly with the first whispers of winter. It comes to tell us that the world is full of good and beautiful things, food and wine, flowers and sunsets and autumn landscapes and good company to share them with, but that we have to enjoy them right away because they will not last. They will not wait for us to finish other things and get around to them. It is a time to 'eat our bread in gladness and drink our wine with joy' not despite the fact that life does not go on forever but precisely because of that fact. It is time to enjoy happiness with those we love and to realize that we are at a time in our lives when enjoying today means more than worrying about tomorrow. It is time to celebrate the fact that we have finally learned what life is about and how to make the most of it."