Weekly message from
Rabbi A. M. Sufrin MBE
Tonight is the start of Sukkot.
“You shall dwell in booths for seven days... So that your generations will know that I caused the Children of Israel to dwell in booths when I took them out of the land of Egypt.”
Question: Why is the festival of Sukkot connected to both the time of harvest and the Jews’ dwelling in Sukkot during their sojourn in the wilderness?
Answer: The message of the Sukkah is two-fold: When the Jews lived in Eretz Yisrael, worked the land, and prospered, there was a danger that they would begin to think that it was their strength and wisdom that earned them their wealth. Consequently, when they gathered their crops and their success brought them into jubilant spirit, Hashem commanded that they dwell in Sukkot to teach them that life on this earth is temporary and that there are no strong “fortresses” that we can build for ourselves. The Sukkah is covered with Sechach, through which one can look up and see the heavens, alluding to the fact that our abodes are temporary and our security is dependent on Hashem in the heaven above.
The trials and tribulations of exile create the danger that the Jews, G-d forbid, will suffer disillusionment. Therefore, Hashem gave the Jewish people the festival of Sukkot, “So that your generations will know that I caused the Children of Israel to dwell in booths when I took them out of the land of Egypt – and just as I protected them then and ultimately brought them to safety, so too, will I be with the Jewish people wherever they will be and ultimately bring them Moshiach and cause them to sit in the Sukkah made from the skin of Livyasan.” (Livyasan is the largest sea creature; Hashem will make a meal from it for the righteous in the Hereafter.)
In view of the above, that Sukkot is celebrated for two reasons and conveys a two-fold message, it is understood why the festival is known as “Chag Hasukkot” – in the plural.
Have an inspiring Yom Tov great week to follow!