From Cantor Lee: After the inner cleansing of the High Holy Days, we receive balancing and Joy as we connect to Mother Earth and Nature by spending time in a sukkah, a hut or temporary dwelling, during the week long holiday of Sukkkot which this year begins sundown, Sunday, September 27th. And when we see the stars and moon at night through the roof... what can be more beautiful!!
This year the sky will be even more spectacular as there will be a supermoon, which only comes around once a year that will be 14% larger than usual and 30% brighter. It will then be engulfed by an eclipse for more than an hour. Spiritually this is seen as a time for spiritual growth and new beginnings. Happy Sukkot!!
From Rabbi David: In this world of high tech, it can sometimes seem as though we are merging into one entity with our I phones and computers. With their dependence on gadgets, many of our "digital native" children prefer to communicate with their peers through texting. Free time means TV, the computer or video games. The time spent outside is extremely limited.
Nature? What’s that?
Enter the holiday of Sukkot!
A time to celebrate our wonderful origin as people of Mother Earth.
Like all of our Jewish customs, we blend our “earthly” Succot celebration with the celebration of the spirit. We remember that Mother Earth provides all of our needs.
Indeed, Sukkot is the Jewish holiday of Thanksgiving in which the rest of the summer harvest is gathered. Our ancestors used to build a sukkah, a small hut, this time of the year to be able to spend as much time in the field (including spending the night) to insure the completion of the harvest before the strong fall rains (the “yoreh” – literally shooting rain) would arrive and spoil the crops.
The actual act of building and spending time in a sukkah in our modern day helps return us back to nature even if it is only for a short time. It reminds us that we are more than “electronic creatures.” The rhythms and sounds of nature are meant to balance us, to bring us back into harmony.
The biblical commandment to sit in a sukkah is based on the explanation that our ancestors sat in huts while wandering around the harsh desert, drifting from one place to another. It is therefore our obligation to remember that the road to freedom can be grueling, long and exhausting. Sukkot, therefore, also celebrates what we Jewish people have always loved and appreciated and what we thank the Almighty for, our freedom.
Building a hut with a fragile roof of branches is spiritually very significant as well. It is about the belief in a Higher Power who watches and protects us just like a desert hut which is such a welcome relief to a desert dweller. In a way, the tumultuous world we are facing is like a desert, a harsh environment of economical, political and spiritual turmoil.
As we partake in the mitzvah of sitting in a sukkah and making a special blessing to honor this custom, we are affirming yet again that we trust in G-d to help us go through challenging times just as our ancestors have done in every generation.
Chag Sameach- A Happy Sukkot to all of us!