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This Sukkah /Self  We Build

10/06/2022 03:03:36 PM


Rabbi Moshe Rudin


The holiday of Sukkot follows Yom Kippur by only a few days.   Why do we head out to live in booths right after the yearly ordeal of purification and renewal?

Maybe it’s like this: On the Days of Awe, we have a chance to re-evaluate our priorities, life directions and indeed, to revise our spiritual resumes.  

In effect, we begin to build a new house for our souls.  

And that is what the Sukkah is.  Purposely unfinished, not much more than a framework.  Ours to create, decorate, build up and dwell in.  The Sukkah is a symbol and a shelter all at once: sacred space but also a self-portrait.  We decorate the Sukkah with branches and fruit and flowers, living embodiments of the force of renewed life.  

The Sukkah that we erect reflects the new self that we have begun to build over the High Holidays.  Called, Tziluta D’Mihinuta”- the Shade of Faith- it is open to the the sky, the source of life giving rain.  In the same way, as we build our renewed selves, we are open to the nurturance of our spiritual source.  

Whether you are able to erect a Sukkah yourself, do try to spend time in Adath Shalom’s Sukkah.  The framework of the physical is only a placeholder for the spiritual.  What is your spiritual home?  What are the walls and supports of your life?  What values, hopes, dreams and relationships form your shelter?  

The Sukkah is the nascent renewed self: the Torah teaches that we each build our soul, moment by moment, mitzvah by mitzvah.  The Sukkah is defined just as much by the guests we invite within.  We traditionally invite the holy ancestors to join us in spirit.  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph and King David may be joined by Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Leah, Ruth, Esther and Deborah.  Who else do you invite to your spiritual Sukkah?  

May the holiday of Thanksgiving, of Sukkot, be a joyous time of building, personal growth and new openness to the blessings that surround you- Chag Sameach!  

Wed, April 17 2024 9 Nisan 5784