August 5, 2021

Sukkah 29

Today’s daf (Sukkah 29a) quotes a ruling that ‘if someone was sleeping in a sukkah and it began to rain, they should leave the sukkah whereby even if it stops raining, we do not trouble them to return to the sukkah until it becomes light (עד שיאור)’.

In response to this, the Gemara asks whether the final two words of this teaching should actually read ‘until he awakens’ (עד שיעור) given that the discussion relates to sleep. Yet though it is clear to the Gemara that the light of the next day is when the individual should reevaluate whether they should return to the sukkah, this only occurs once they awaken (עד שיעור).

Reflecting on this discussion, it occurred to me that though we often commit ourselves to make changes in our life when our situation changes (i.e. עד שיאור), fundamentally, change in life occurs when we awaken ourselves to the possibility of change (i.e. עד שיעור), and while our situation does provide the context and opportunities for our choices, ultimately it is our choices – stirred from an awakening from the inside – which are the determinant factor for making life changes.

As we approach the month of Ellul starting this Sunday night – which represents a dawn of new spiritual opportunities and a time for a spiritual awakening – we should prepare ourselves by reflecting on our intended goals and aspirations so that we harness the light (ה’ אורי) of this new month through stirring ourselves towards a personal spiritual awakening.

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