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11/07/2022 04:11:54 PM


Rabbi Deana Sussman Berezin

Last week, Jewish people around the world celebrated the festival of Sukkot. During this time, we read from Ecclesiastes. Here, we learn that “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die...A time to week and a time to laugh, a time to grieve and a time to dance…A time for war and a time for peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). 

For a long time, I took comfort in the idea that there is a set time for everything in life. The seasons of our lives feel, at times, both fleeting and eternal. We wish for moments of joy to last forever and for moments of pain to end swiftly. The notion that this, too, shall pass, brings me comfort. After all – for everything there is a season.

Then, I read a profound poem by Israeli poet Yehudah Amichai, A Man in His Life. “A man doesn’t have time in his life to have time for everything. He doesn’t have seasons enough to have a season for every purpose. Ecclesiastes was wrong about that. A man needs to love and to hate at the same moment, to laugh and cry with the same eyes…” 

Here, I find a different sense of comfort. Recognizing that love and hate exist simultaneously, and that laughter and tears co-mingle, reminds us of the profound complexity of life. We do not live in a world with neatly defined boxes, where we can move from one space to the next without bringing our experiences and our emotions with us. We hold both joy and sorrow in the same hands and experience them in the same moment. This, I believe, is what it means to be human. 


This special edition of Temple Talk comes from the Omaha World-Herald's "From the Pulpit" series. Rabbi Deana Sussman Berezin contributes to this printed series every few months. This is her submission as it appeared in the October 23 edition of the Omaha World-Herald. 

Mon, November 28 2022 4 Kislev 5783