by Rabbi Ilene Bogosian, October 22, 2014

I listen to crickets. Have you ever noticed that the cricket’s sound changes as autumn approaches? I consulted a web page about this and discovered that the rate of cricket chirping is governed by air temperature. The hotter the night, the faster they chirp. I find the lower chirp rate restful and the nights more peaceful in the autumn. During the summer, I am not aware that the nights are so noisy, but when the crickets turn down the volume, ah, what a relief.

It seems to me that these tiny creatures are a dissenting voice since nothing human slows down at this time of the year. Some of us are besieged by the resumption of the tyranny of the school routine. With the coming of fall we feel pressure to return to business as usual, and a fresh round of work to be done. At this time of year we pick up new burdens and accelerate our days. The noise and the pace of life increase.

In the midst of all that, just when we are beginning to adjust to the increasing velocity of the cooler months, we have to take some time off. Just as we have gotten back in the post-vacation swing of things the High Holidays arrive. How aggravating. But nevertheless, what a blessing! Every year at this season we get a chance to turn down the volume and speed controls of our lives. We are granted a quiet island, sitting in the synagogue and connecting with friends and relatives.

The crickets know that there is a time to slow down. We too can let stillness slip in among the many noises in our lives. Every year, during the holiday season, we quiet ourselves for a while. Within those pauses new ideas and new feelings can grow. Silences are fertile. They contain a bit of what we need to move forward into 5775, some healing here, a pinch of inspiration there, some memories, a lot of forgiving and more. Each of us comes to the season and the silence with different needs.

Sukkot is the culmination of the holiday period, traditionally a time for joy. I like to eat my meals and study in the Sukkah, where depending on the time of year and weather permitting, I can often still hear the crickets singing. I am hoping that Canadian weather this year will permit!

May you all find the healing and renewal you need in the silence and celebration of the Yom Tovim. May you all be granted a good and sweet New Year, a joyous Sukkot, and the stamina to dance with the Torah for hours on Simchat Torah.

Shannah Tovah, and Hag Same’ach,

Rabbi Ilene Bogosian

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