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Ghosts As Guests

It is a myth of the lazy storyteller that ghosts primarily inhabit desolate houses and crumbling castles. No ghost ever walks down the stairs and corridors of the places I visit; no specter looks in from the other side of the window. However, when I return to my sukkah, I encounter ghosts. It is in the strangeness of their fleeting presence that I feel haunted; it is in the familiarity of their absence.

I can see and hear the muffled footsteps of my sukkah guests. I know them intimately, though in another plane of existence. I speak, of course, of the Seven Ushpizin, the Seven Guests who visit us, according to the Zohar, each day of Succot.

Why would I possibly describe a visit from Abraham or Isaac as strange when they are such an essential part of my spiritual existence? How could I possibly say that a visit from Moses, Aaron, or Joseph, as haunting?

I am haunted by the strangeness of their visit because I have no idea what I would say to any one of them if I met them in person. I love Abraham’s creativity, Isaac’s determination, Jacob’s clarity, Moses’ sense of the eternal, Aaron’s appreciation of the majesty of every detail in creation, Joseph’s loyalty and, King David’s all encompassing personality. I study their lives. I strive to emulate them. Each is a very real character in my life. However, I perceive each of them as a giant, whose presence would fill my succah; each, a larger than life character who would overwhelm me with their presence.

I welcome each at the beginning of the evening meal, as I sit in my sukkah staring up through the holes in the s’chach at the dark sky sprinkled with the flashing lights of the stores. The setting itself is perfect for a ghostly visit; a little strange for a visit from someone so important to the way I live my life.

I’m even slightly embarrassed over the quite imperfect way I have assembled my sukkah. How strange that I choose to welcome these awesome visitors in a flimsy booth rather than in my home! I can just imagine these people who have successfully built a nation that has lasted for thousands of years wondering how one of their descendants/students could be such a poor builder.

That is, until I remember that their visit is intended as an invitation, to me, the host, to join them in the Society of Builders. Each of them offers guidance in becoming a better builder of a better world.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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