As we bid farewell with a heavy heart to the uplifting days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we look forward to the wonderful Yom Tov of Sukkos –זמן שמחתנו (time of our happiness). According to the Rambam in his book Moreh Nevuchim (Guide to the Perplexed), Sukkos time is naturally a happy time because it is the end of the harvest and a time of rejoicing. Therefore, says the Rambam, the Torah utilized the opportunity to enrich us with mitzvos by giving us a special mitzvah to rejoice when it is anyway a time of high spirits. Only, it should be channeled towards the service of Hashem. We will explain it as follows.
The Torah says: בסכות תשבו שבעת ימים כל אזרח בישראל ישבו בסוכות. “You should dwell in tabernacles 7 days, all citizens of Yisroel (the Jewish nation) shall dwell in tabernacles.” The posuk continues, “So your generations should know that that I settled the children of Israel in tabernacles when I took them out of Egypt.” The Bach writes that when the Torah writes “So,” it is imperative to have in mind the reason. What is the important message it is telling us here?
Security in the Flimsy Sukkah
The answer, Rabbi Miller says, is that the essence of the Sukkah in its very plain meaning comes to teach us that we all are always totally dependent on Hashem. The avodah (task) on Sukkos, especially while leaving our comfortable and secure homes and entering a flimsy edifice, is to realize that nothing is really secure. Not only are the panel walls of the Sukkah fragile, but so are the brick walls of your house, without the help of Hashem. Just like in the midbar (wilderness), where there was nothing else to eat other than the manna that arrived in no more than day-to-day increments and nowhere to live but in flimsy tents— we were still safe and secure by being surrounded with the Clouds of Glory. This is how we are to view our lives now as well. (see Rashbam)
Great Events and The Help of Heaven
The events that occurred in the last few months alone would be enough to render us as flimsy and helpless as they come. With Covid-19 slowly moving into the rear-view mirror and leaving shockwaves in its wake – physically, emotionally and financially – the above message is fully understood and needs no elaboration. We also have had our fair share of fires and plenty of water in form of hurricanes this year as well, to prove the vulnerability of mankind. We also saw mankind at its best and Siyata Dishmaya—the help of Heaven—in myriads of manifestations. Many saw miraculous recoveries and incredible Divine Providence.
The message to be learned is clear. Human beings are meant to do what it takes to improve their lot in health, finance, and other needs. It must also remain clear on the other hand, that we are all being lent by a Hand from Above. It is a very fine balance that takes a lifetime to calibrate. But that is what makes our life worthwhile living.
May Hashem spread His Sukkah of peace and protect the nation of Israel from all harm! May there be peace and tranquility around the world to make it a better and safer place for us to live happier and more successful lives.
Submitted by Rabbi Gavriel Lamm