Monday, October 09, 2006

Sukkoth on the Beach

I am staying in [city name removed for security reasons] for Sukkoth, and found myself walking to Shul on the beach. This city is not the most Jewish-friendly in the world, and I have heard mumblings of 'dirty Jew' before, from homeless people who melted into the crowd when I turned to confront them. However, this Sunday, I was walking with a group of children from the Shul, and quite the opposite happened. A homeless guy turned to us and called out in a loud, jolly (drunken?) voice, "Hey! You Jews! I always want to bless you guys, but you are already blessed! Just look at you! May the Lord bless you today and each and every day of your lives!"

I looked at him, smiled, and said, "May he bless you too!"

As we continued on our way to Shul, one of the boys reminded me that those who bless the children of Avraham are blessed, and those who curse us are cursed. I told the kids that we should never look down at a blessing we receive, just because of the looks of the person blessing us. 'אל תהי ברכת הדיוט קלה בעניך'. The Talmud instructs us (Brachot 7a) to never take a blessing, even that of a simpleton, lightly.

This episode raised my spirits. I still feel euphoric today. I hope that this itinerant philosopher was a messenger of God, and I pray that his blessing was God's way of telling His people, 'I have accepted your Yom Kippur. This year will be one that is truly blessed for you, as individuals and as a Nation.'

כן יהי רצון. So may it be His Will.