Tonight we enter the 15th of Tishrei, the full moon of this month. We've prayed and fasted, an intensity to the first 2 weeks of this month as we start the New Year. Our efforts come to light with the glow of the full moon, and all that has been created through the intentions of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is revealed on Sukkot. The seriousness gives way to joyful abandon and the setting for this joy is the Sukkah.
Sukkah is the only Mitzvah which surrounds us completely, just by stepping in it and having a bite to eat we fulfill this Mitzvah with our entire bodies. In the Sukkah we can embody our connection with Hashem not only spiritually but also physically. The Sukkah is compared to a hug, originally the clouds of glory that protected us on our journey through the desert.
For these 7 days, the Sukkah is to be our temporary dwelling place. Everything we normally do in our homes is to be done in the Sukkah for this week. Having a home is essential to us as humans. Our home affects us not only when we are in it, but also as we move through the world. Our home environment creates the atmosphere and mindset we will carry with us to work, out with friends, travel and more. During Sukkot, this atmosphere is the G-dly embrace that surrounds us in the Sukkah. Even if a minimal amount of time is spent in the Sukkah, this embrace remains with us for the rest of the day and week.
Sukkot has always been a favorite holiday of mine and I think this is true for many people. While dining al fresco with the scent of pine and wood is lovely, I grew up in Montreal where it often rained and was cold on Sukkot so my affinitude is not specifically related to comfort. The Talmud tells us that G-d gave us one easy Mitzvah and it is the Mitzvah of Sukkah. The ease has nothing to do with building it, and everything to do with achieving the essence of this Mitzvah. All that is required is actually being in the Sukkah to connect with the G-dly light that is present there.
If you don't have your own Sukkah, you can achieve this in a neighbor's Sukkah or our Community Sukkah!
Wishing you a joyful Sukkot,