Kindness and sharing – the two go together like fish and the sea. One without the other just doesn’t work. Imagine showing up to read to patients at the children’s hospital, but refusing to open a book, or offering your seat on the bus to an elderly person without moving over. In order to show kindness, we must share. And in order to truly share, we must have kindness in our hearts.
This week, we celebrate Sukkot: the holiday commemorating the forty years Israelites spent wandering through the desert. Sukkot reminds us what it means to connect to others. We erect temporary shelters and for seven days and seven nights join our friends, family, and neighbors, eating together, laughing together, and reciting blessings. But what we are really doing, from a kabbalistic standpoint is basking in the spirit of kindness and sharing – a Light that is only available to us at this time of year.
We can tap into the unique energy available during the week of Sukkot through our words and deeds, “First we need to express kindness and sharing in everything we do,” says Michael Berg. “By bringing these qualities into our lives, both in our dealings with other individuals and in our dealings with the world as a whole, we will create a connection to the Surrounding Light that manifests mercy and sharing likewise for us.” This is the spirit of Sukkot – comforting others, sharing with our neighbors, and showing love.
Sukkot also reminds us that in order to show kindness and share with others, we must commit to action in the real world. The kabbalists teach that at least half of what we do in the world should be focused on helping others. And while action can take many forms, this is, in essence, the important spiritual work that brings us closer to transformation.
But before you run out and make a mission of doing ‘good deeds’ all over your town, consider these words from Michael Berg: “True sharing requires a basic shift in the way we see our lives and our relationships to the people around us.” This means acknowledging that our lives are interwoven; sometimes we rely on the kindness of others and sometimes we offer it up.
When we share with others and show them kindness, we are also putting two very important energies into motion. First, we model what Desire for the Sake of Sharing really means, and as a consequence make it more likely that the act will be paid forward in the future. By showing others through our actions what it means to share from the heart, we inspire them to act from theirs.
Secondly, “like attracts like.” Sukkot is an opportunity to bring more joy into our lives. “The Light of this week can’t enter our lives without joy,” says Michael Berg, “just as it can’t enter without sharing. Indeed, the kabbalists teach that the concepts of sharing and joy are intimately related. One leads to the other, and together they evoke the Light that awaits us during Sukkot.”
Sukkot strengthens your connection to those around you. Focus on actions born from kindness and sharing, and the unique Light available to you this week will shine back into your life.