Shemini Atzeret: Power of Restraint



When something exciting comes your way do you immediately gobble it down, or do you slowly savor the experience? How many great things may we have missed in life due to our impatience?

We live today in a fast food and fast paced society, and we abhor waiting for anything. Some say that this is because it makes us realize how much time we have on our hands… This is why supermarkets place tabloids next to checkout lines, and office buildings place mirrors next to elevator banks – anything to occupy those waiting and reduce their impatience. And this is why Houston Airport devised a circuitous route for people to get to the baggage claim, making them walk for 8 minutes instead of having them standing and staring at the carousel.

But how many critical elements in life can only emerge through waiting? Love, truth, soul, happiness, peace of mind – all require process and time to blossom. They cannot be acquired with a click; they must emerge.

Shemini Atzeret – and especially the word atzeret – contains the secret to success. It teaches us how the story of love is the story of patience and restraint. When you love something you wait for it.

This sermon contains a wealth of humor about waiting, a beautiful Yizkor section honoring the patience of parents, and inspirational content about waiting for the Moshiach – all related to the inner meaning of Shemini Atzeret, the holiday that urges us to pause … and wait for God and one another.

Absorbing the lesson of this one day holiday – defined by the single word atzeret – can change your life forever.


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