First there is
Rosh Hashanah, followed by
Yom Kippur. This we know well!
And then there comes Sukkot, which
We read in the
book of Ecclesiastes: “There‘s nothing new under the sun.” We build a booth. We
hang fruits and vegetables, and then some of us hop from Sukkah to Sukkah, if
we are blessed to have several Sukkot in the community.
The holiday of
Sukkot comes from ancient times, when harvest booths from old harvests,
were done to appeal to the Greater Power for a good next rain and harvest by
displaying, with thanks, the fruits of the earth from this season.
But it goes
deeper and is more mystical.
In the Bible, our
Torah, our teachings given to us are about the ‘why questions. ‘“Why are we
here, how are we supposed to live, think and experience this world?”
times in life, we take a personal accounting, or measure, of where we are.
On the High Holy Days we take an account through self-introspection and
self-reflection of our essence and measure our behaviors.
On Yom Kippur we look at where our reflections have taken
us, and linger in that final chance to resolve how to take on our new
directions. On Sukkot, harvest time, we take a look at our sustenance and the
abundance we have gathered. The Torah reminds us that we are not the sum of our
fruits in ancient time was potentially a time for the strongest sense of self
piles of grain or squash represented work and its results, representing the
power to withstand the coming months. It is a time to experience the strength
of being in our home.
we are asked to leave our house, to build something that is even if it is
technically temporary; to eat and experience sitting inside something that is
made of branches, being able to see the stars through that ceiling at night;
removing ourselves from the strength of our home into a fragile structure;
reminding us of the fragility of life; moving into a situation of required
then – we are asked to celebrate in it. Sukkot is referred to as “z’man
simhatenu”, the time of our joy. How emphatic a point is that!
there are lots of words in Hebrew that mean “joy!" as opposed to fun.
Sukkot lessons: to reap our harvest, count our grain, display the fruits
publicly, and move into the temporary space, and call this time; a time of our
up for Yom Kippur and skipping Sukkot & Simchat Torah is like showing up
for your wedding, going under the Chupah and then running off!
Yom Kippur, we are under the Chupah with God. Sukkot is the seven days of
rejoicing. Shemini Atzeret & Simchat Torah is to be your time alone
rejoicing with your "better half" God!
Torah says, “Celebrate! Enjoy your abundance, hold high your accomplishments,
and love your homes. The best is yet to come!”
- Rabbi Alan