Today my office was ambushed by the Mitzvah Police, well maybe not an ambush, after all there were no weapons, just a “green stick and a yellow rock.” For some reason it bothered me. I would like to know what you guys think so please leave me your opinion via the comments link below.
First let me tell ya’ll what happened. Sometime after lunch there was a ring at the front door of our corporate suite. A few minutes later the receptionist came into my office and said, “There are two Rabbis at the front door, they are carrying a green stick and a yellow rock, they wanted to know if there were any Jewish people in the office.”
This I had to see so I walked down the hall and opened the front door to reveal not Rabbis, but two Lubavitch boys, (18ish?) each holding a lulav and etrog. As soon as I opened the door one of them asked, “ Sir did you..” I cut him off, “Yes, this morning in Shul during Shachareet, good Yuntif” They responded in kind and I shut the door.
For some reason their “visit” really bugged me. They didn’t “out” me, my co-workers are very aware of my religion and level of observance. I think part of the reason was it reminded me of when I was a kid and my parents were checking up on me (that bothered me too).
Mostly it bothered me that these two boys knocking on office doors were turning Sukkot into a chore. To me it seem as if they were treating these rituals of Sukkot as inanimate objects, as if the lulav and etrog were a green stick and yellow rock, rather than what they were—part of a vibrant, lively traditon.
I really enjoy the festivals, yet most non-observant Jews consider them minor holidays. For some non-practicing Jews in my building today this was their first exposure to the holiday in years, having a “green stick and yellow rock shoved in their face and being cajoled into making a brucha. So they do it this once and forgot about it. It’s like what the sages said, “give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach him to fish and he will eat for a life time.
What of instead these people were exposed to the joy of decorating a Sukkah with children, the beautiful melodies of Hallel, or even the warmth of a meal with family and friends in a Sukkah? Maybe then, they would eat for a lifetime.
So again I ask, what do you think?