Jewish Holidays: Chag Sukkos

Jewish Holidays: Chag Sukkos

I record now, a month and a half later, some thoughts that we focused on during the Jewish Holidays, specifically Chag Sukkos, ideas that remained with me until now.

Sukkah: Ananai HaKavod

Chazal tell us, and the poskim codify this at the beginning of Hilchos Sukkah, that the Sukkah that we make and dwell in during Sukkos is a zecher so to speak, a remembrance, of the Ananai HaKavod which surrounded the Jewish people from when the A’lmighty took us out of Mitzraim (Egypt). The Tur writes that the Ananai HaKavod protected us from the elements. We also know, from when Aharon HaKohen passed away, that the Ananai HaKavod protected us also from our enemies.

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The Ananai HaKavod, if you think about it, was a continuous revelation which could be seen with the senses of the presence of the Ribono Shel Olam. This revelation went along with them the whole time. They always had a continuous reminder which was perceptible and apparent that G-d is here.

Brochos and Davening

Often when we pray or say brochos we relate to it as a formula or rite in order to accomplish whatever it is that we need to accomplish — to make the food permitted to be eaten, to “do the davening”. Yes, true, we know that Mitzvah observance does big things in all of the galaxies, excuse the expression. But imagine that you would really be standing in front of the President of the United States, (or whomever, the example is not important). Now imagine that you’re standing in front of the King of the whole world. Well, you can stop imagining, because you really are right now standing before the King of the whole world. When we think about it we recognize that it’s true, but we don’t always think about it, nor feel it. And the brocho or the davening, even though of course I do not say it just to be “yotzai”, to fulfill my dry obligation, rather I understand that it does big things, but out there, out yonder. I don’t always have the presence to appreciate the presence that I’m standing now and speaking to the A’lmighty. “You are the source of all blessing, Hashem, our G-d, King of the whole world …”

In the Midbar when the Jewish people left Egypt, they weren’t troubled by this. They had a constant perceptible reminder at all times. They didn’t need to imagine or to work on internalization. It was there.

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The Sukkah

So, too, the Sukkah. To anyone with the sensitivity not to relate to the Sukkah as just three boards with some branches thrown on top. Rather as Mitzvas Sukkah, Tzila Dehaimnusa, the place for the Ushpizin, I have for one week a perceptible reminder that Hashem is here with me, all around.

Sukkah is a zecher to Ananai HaKavod.

About The Author

Boruch Rappaport