Over Sukkot my family were waiting in line with (what seemed like) the entire NW London Jewish community, for the Spinning Tea Cups at Legoland.
Towards the end of the day, one of the staff asked me a question that had clearly been on her mind. “Do you all come from the same community?” she asked. “We do, actually,” I said, and explained to her that Sukkot was a Jewish festival.
But then came the best part – “So on this festival”, she asked innocently, “do you need to go to Legoland – Is that part of the festival too?!”
Her question left me thinking - is there anything Jewish about Legoland?
There were two points that really struck me. In fact, when there were just ten minutes left until closing time, you could spot entire families running to catch one last ride.
- None of the rides lasted longer than three minutes. Yet you had to wait up to five times longer than that to get on. In peak season people queue for an hour or more for some rides!
- The enormous exhibits of pirates, animals and dinosaurs, were all constructed using tiny lego blocks – millions of them.
Then I thought of the following parallels in our daily lives, lessons which are central to Judaism:
- Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could transplant the time sensitivity of a theme park and apply it to every minute of our lives. Life itself has a “closing date,” and we have to make the most it! As the Talmud tells us, this world is like a wedding banquet which doesn’t last forever!
- As children we are well aware that a few fleeting moments on a pleasure ride are worth some pain – that of standing in a queue for hours. Living life is really the same – no pain no gain! Lefum tzaara agra – the reward is directly proportionate to the effort you put in.
- All the lofty and ambitious resolutions we made over Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur do not require huge boulders and heavy rocks in order to stand. One small brick of lego, and then another, and then another, slowly builds the greatness we so yearn for.
Maybe there is something Jewish about Legoland after all.