“You shall live in Sukkot seven days; all citizens of Israel shall live in Sukkot, in order that future generations may know that I made the Israelite people live in Sukkot when I brought them out of the land of Egypt.” (Leviticus 23:42-43)
SUKKOT: Sukkot is a harvest festival, but it is also a holiday that marks the Exodus from Egypt. Many of you may be thinking “isn’t Passover the holiday that marks the Exodus from Egypt?” And indeed it is. However, the story of the Exodus from Egypt is such a formative moment in the history of the Jewish people that there are many moments throughout the year and even on a daily basis during which we can commemorate this important event.
Sukkot marks the Exodus from Egypt just as Passover does, but Sukkot marks it in a slightly different way. With Passover we are concerned with every aspect of the Exodus story, but with Sukkot we are specifically marking the journey from Egypt to the land of Israel, when the Jews travelled through the desert. We celebrate this journey on Sukkot and we re-enact it, by building and eating in the Sukkah, the little hut that becomes our temporary home during the holiday of Sukkot.
Therefore, part of what Sukkot is really about is the journey. Not just the physical journey from Egypt to Israel, but a metaphorical journey, a spiritual journey. A journey to transform ourselves as people, to find where we need to be in life, to find what our goals in life should be, whether professional, spiritual, or family goals.
SIMCHAT TORAH: We can all appreciate the dramatic moments in our lives. Pleasure and excitement can be found in glorious events and magnificent landscapes. Joy and celebration are easily experienced in times of grandiosity. But can we expect to discover anything of significance in the circles of daily life? During the “regular,” unspectacular moments, which occupy most of our lives, when nothing breath- taking is happening – does any of it matter? Does anybody care? Is anybody watching? We know how the
awesome power of prayer can pierce the heavens and change destiny. But what about our simple, mundane activities?
Simchat Torah gives us a wonderful hint to answer these questions. As life, also the Torah has many – let’s say – not so exciting parts that even seem to be boring if we look at them only as sole readings. But at large they form an astonishing text that is full of small and magnificent teachings. The unspectacular parts provide the context to the peaks. On Simchat Torah we celebrate the Torah in it’s whole, with it’s ups and downs. And so we must see our lives. At large, they are full of miracles, worth to be celebrated and enjoyed at every single moment.
Chag Sameach – Happy Holiday!
– Rabbi Adrian M Schell (Source: Rabbi David Kalb, mlc)
Podcast of Rabbi Schell’s weekly Radio Sermons on Radio Today, follow http://betdavid.podomatic.com/.