Weekly Words of Torah goes PC (Parashah and Chesed) – Sukkot 5780

To inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women
By Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, Executive Director, Women’s League For Conservative Judaism

The holiday of Sukkot is associated with hospitality, hachnasat orchim. We welcome friends, family, and the community into our sukkah and we visit others. We eat, we sleep, we study, and we spend seven days and nights in the company of neighbors and friends. The official guests we invite into our Sukkah called the Ushpizin (Aramaic for “guests”). According to tradition, each sukkah is blessed with visits by seven honored guests, shepherds of the nation: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron and David. A more modern tradition is to invite the Ushpizot: Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Avigail, Hannah, Huldah, and Esther. The Ushphizot were chosen based on the Babylonian Talmud, which lists seven biblical women who were prophetesses. Ushpizin and Ushphizot allows us the opportunity to reflect on these biblical ancestors and their special qualities. Today, along with our biblical ancestors, I love asking the question of those who are celebrating with me: “If you could invite anyone in history to join us tonight, who would it be and why?”

Hospitality is a great form of chesed. Invite some people into your sukkah this week of Sukkot – people you know, and also, someone you do not know as well. Perhaps also invite some people from another faith community, and exchange ideas about how we all practice hospitality in our own communities.

Weekly Words of Torah is a brief paragraph prepared weekly by our Executive Director, Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, presented in our “This Week @ Women’s League.” WWOT will provide meaningful thoughts related to the Weekly Torah Portion, an event on the Calendar, a Prayer, or something of Jewish interest, to inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women. If you have any particular interest in future topics, or want to send Rabbi Wolintz-Fields an email, you can contact her at ewolintz-fields@wlcj.org. Read previous Weekly Words of Torah here, and stay up-to-date with the latest WWOT theme, Chesed, here.