One of the most beautiful piyyutim (religious poems) we sing in our family on Sukkot is a tender ode to God as creator of pure light, especially appropriate since Sukkot begins at the full moon. The author, sixteenth-century rabbi and kabbalist Israel Najara, rejoices in the bright, clear light (or bahir) and the skies stretching out above us, reflecting God's eternal spirit that infuses both heaven and earth.
My father loved telling the story of how once, the moon rose above the sukkah just as he began singing this piyyut. Through his dedication to tradition, he added to the moon's natural light by continuing the family custom of stringing up ornamental lights and hanging special Persian lamps (fanoose) of blue, purple, green and yellow glass. In the picture above from many years ago, he is with my sister Flora in our glorious sukkah in Calcutta.
I know he would have been thrilled that this year, India landed on the moon!
On August 23, 2023, India's Chandrayaan-3 (Chandra means moon and yaan means vehicle) mission landed successfully on the moon's southern pole, the first country to do so successfully. Two robots, a lander named Vikram (one who is wise, brave, strong and victorious) and a rover named Pragyan, (one who possesses greater knowledge and wisdom) make India the fourth country ever to land on the moon. The country united in pride and delight over its space program's achievements.
See India for yourself!
Come with us to Agra, and watch the sun set and the moon rise over the Taj.
Come with us to Calcutta, and enjoy dinner in the courtyard of the Maghen David Synagogue to the light of the moon.
Come with us to Mumbai, and watch the spectacular sunrise over Gateway of India, a monument at the mouth of Bombay Harbor that was partly financed by the Sassoon family.
Come with us to Cochin, where the moon will be high in the daylight sky as we glide along the canals of Kerala.
Come with us to Jaipur as we enjoy a gourmet meal in the home of a chef, after the moon has risen.
Come with us to Delhi, as we explore Q'tab Minar, a red sandstone 13th-century minaret, at sunset.
We have a few spaces left on our February 2024 trip, and have just opened registration for November 2024.
Don't miss this trip of a lifetime!
Please contact me for more information.
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Tizkoo l'shanim rabot! May you merit many years.