Dear friends and readers, I know I promised, so here it comes. All my collected Sukkot Torah for you! And for those who would rather know how I'm doing - please reach out to me! I'd love to hear your voices and or see your lovely faces :)
Sooo, Sukkot, such a wonderful holy day - or rather days! And so much to cover! I'll try to keep it short and concise.
Every day (except the first, because it was Shabbat), we take the 4 species and shake them. A rather peculiar practise, don't you think? So what does it have to do with the topic of the holiday? It's not straightforward. Sukkot happens during the time of the year when all the harvest is finished. Harvesting is collecting, so we collect, bring together those 4 species and move them in all the 6 directions, and bring them back in, gathering together. Sukkot is also a pilgrimage holiday, so everyone who could come to Jerusalem to the Temple. The whole people were gathered at the holiest place on earth. We also learn that the 4 species represent all the different kinds of people with paralleling the attributes of taste and smell to Torah knowledge and mitzvot. Taste is Torah knowledge because the taste is something only you can taste, same as Torah knowledge at that moment is just for you, whereas a smell can be smelled by many people at once, same as many mitzvot benefit many people at the same time. We gather all those people together. Thus unity is a very big idea of Sukkot.
We all sit in Sukkot, those temporary booths, that seems like any wind will blow them away, but we notice that they actually are pretty robust! It is taught that the Sukka is a reminder of the clouds of glory, that were protecting the Jewish people while wandering in the desert. Those clouds were like one big sukkah, all the people were in - uniting everyone. The Jewish people were following those clouds in the desert - they knew the destination, but they trusted HaShem to get them there safely. Same with us, we sit in the sukkah, showing HaShem that we trust Him that He will get us to the right destination and that we trust his ways with getting us there safely. Sitting in the Sukkah is a statement of Emunah. We look at the s'chach that covers the sukkah when we say the blessing over the sukkah, to remind us of this Emunah. The sukkah is HaShem's sign of love to us, it's His hug and embrace, protecting us, loving us.
Another word on temporary. We leave the permanent structure of our four walls and sit in a sukkah, something temporary and fleeting. What is the statement? We acknowledge that even those four permanent walls of our house, are also just mere physical structures, victims to nature and decay. Our harvest, that we collected over the last half-year, even that is just temporary. We should remember not to put too much trust into physical and material things, but rather focus on what really matters, which is building a relationship to HaShem and making this world into a dwelling place for Him, a place that is worthy of a Godly presence.
Another amazing chidush (new thing) I learnt this year about sukkot: There is an amazing connection between the mitzvot of Sukkot, Israel and Marriage. In all cases we circle. We circle the bimah with the Torah during Hoshanot, we circle the land of Israel, and the bride circles the groom. What is the common factor? Technically, we acquire, but emotionally, we make a connection - to the Sukka (surrounding clouds) HaShem (His hug), the land of Israel and our spouse. We are binding us to them, establishing a covenant.
Wishing all of you wonderful last days of Sukkot and don't forget the most important thing: be happy!