“Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hand.
They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see;
they have ears, but cannot hear, noses but cannot smell;
they have hands, but cannot touch, feet, but cannot walk;
they can make no sound in their throats.
Those who fashion them,all who trust in them shall become like them.”-Psalms 115:4-6
As I flipped through the pages of my Siddur on Sukkot, this particular psalm stuck out to me. There was something about it that was haunting, something relevant, something real. I wanted to analyze it.To know what it meant. To connect it to my reality.
Walking home with my friend Davina, my thoughts became clear as we discussed the passage.
What are the idols that people construct and worship today? Are they statues made out of gold and silver, or are they something more subtle? The idol of today is hidden behind advertisements and ideas of glamour. The idol of today is what to get next and how to get it. The idol of today is what to buy and what to wear. The idol of today is materialism.
In a society that worships objects, do the people themselves become objects? In a world that is so focused on items, are people defined by what they own? How many define themselves based on the new brand name that they wear and the car that they drive? By worshipping items, our society has become one that labels it’s people by what they buy. A man must have the latest basketball shoes. A woman must have that brand name purse.
On Sukkot, we forsake our homes to live in temporary structures. We leave physicality behind and enter into a dwelling place where our experience is largely shaped by our company and not by the comfort afforded by our normal abodes. On Sukkot, we leave the trappings of materialism and enter into a reminder of what is truly important in life. We realize that our houses are only temporary. That everything could be swept away in a second. We realize that we must not identify ourselves by the clothes we wear and the things we own, but by our actions and the way that we impact others. Only then can we truly break free from the shackles of idol worship.
Chag Sameach ve Shana Tova Am Yisrael
Sometimes exile cuts like a knife
Away from my home is just a half life
Don’t know if feeling this lost is worth the cost
How long can my soul stand
to be away from the Holy land?
From Boston I can clearly see, it’s Am Yisrael that calls to me
And my greatest fear, do I betray my people while I stay here?
Friends lay down their lives on the front line
And I am in college biding my time
Is this for them, or is this for me?
Will the nation benefit from my degree?
I come to terms with reality
Exile means I am not yet free.
All under the assumption
satisfies the soul
while it takes it’s toll
on the free world
the “all about me” world
How can you rise
against an Idol in disguise
It grows like a tumor
among generation consumer.
If we were to all share the weight of the world,we might be able to make a difference.
Instead, we numb ourselves to the issues of today, taking pain killers in the form of distraction while the weight still looms over our shoulders.
The most used Iphone applications on my campus are Snapchat and Instagram. People love taking pictures of themselves. On the bus, they’d rather look at a reflection of their smile than interact with other students. On the street, they look down at their phones and choose filters, an instant sedative to the challenging world that they have inherited.
When you are in a race, you don’t stop in the middle and relax. You keep going until you reach the finish line. This world is no different. We are all far from finishing the race here. There is too much suffering in the world, too much waste in our waters to take a break. From the starting line of birth to the finish of line of death it is our responsibility to race as hard as we can and fix what is wrong in this world. It is time to look up from our Instagram picture and see the big picture. We are here for a reason. We need to learn to carry that weight.