Sedra: Shabbat Chol Hamoed

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Sedra: Shabbat Chol Hamoed

Rebbetzin Rachie Lister looks ahead to the forthcoming portion of the Torah

On the Shabbat of the week of Succot we read the book of Kohelet, written by King Solomon.

Before he took over from his father King David, God asked Solomon what
he needed to lead the Jewish people and all he asked for was wisdom.

God granted him great wealth precisely because he could have asked for it and did not.

In Kohelet, King Solomon ponders the illusory nature of riches. He emphasises that money often distracts us from the real currency we are here to earn. Money seems the obvious thing to strive for, but beyond a point it blinds us to what really matters.

In truth, says King Solomon, the main currency in life is time. We have a tight schedule to stick to and after our time is up, our activity stops.

He urges us to view time as our main and most precious asset, as we can use it to serve God. Instead of time being money, money is often time, taking away our real riches.

This message is taught by Succot as well. Since we live in temporary shelter for all of this week, we remember that this world is transient, including our money.

We would be fools if we overlooked the real currency that will take us to our permanent destination.

We should use our time and money to generate the real money for the next world. 

Which world is the real one? Which world has more permanence? The book of Kohelet teaches that the real world is the world to come and the currency is God’s commandments.

In the final scene of Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List, Oskar Schindler holds up a gold badge and with tears in his eyes proclaims: “This could have saved two or three more Jews.” 

Let us use the gift of Succot to remind us of the gift of time.

Rachie Lister is the Senior Rebbetzin of Edgware United Synagogue

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