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October 10, 2014  RSS feed
Rabbinically Speaking

Text: T T T

Finding direction in flashes of storm

by Rabbi Alter Korf Chabad Center of St. Petersburg


Four sides and above.

Wood and leaves.

A Sukkah.

It’s a structure so temporary, you can miss it. But walk inside and you’ll discover that this makeshift hut is the place to be on the holiday of Sukkot – eat in there, say lechaim, play chess, anything really, for the Sukkah becomes our home for those seven autumnal days.

Sounds like a late summer camping adventure? Maybe. But there is a whole lot more to this temporary tent living arrangement.

There is something unique about the Sukkah, over all the other Jewish things you’ll ever hear about. It is the only Mitzvah that you actually walk into. You don’t hold it, eat it, wrap it or pray it. You are inside it. Totally encompassed by G-d and His will. Your entire perception, every way you turn, is only G-dliness.

But I entered the Sukkah by choice and can leave the same way? What good is walking into G-dliness if I can just walk right out, unchanged?

In truth, we can extend this question to all the festivals that are celebrated in Tishrei, the first month of the Jewish calendar. There’s Rosh Hashanah, the day we tell G-d that we want to be His people and He in turn grants us a year of blessings. Followed swiftly by Yom Kippur, a day of introspection and forgiveness, and a mere four days later we are swept into Sukkot. The beginning of the year is a flurry of Jewishness, but where does that leave us?

This is the tale of the Sukkah.

We need those moments of sharp clarity. We need the flashes in the storm when we realize the direction we are headed in. We need to walk into G-dliness.

But we also need to walk out. Armed with the mission of transforming the temporary into permanent. The reality that is so obvious in the time of inspiration needs to permeate the mundane. We choose to walk into Gdliness, and we choose to walk out.

And bring it into the rest of the year.

The Rabbinically Speaking column is provided as a public service by the Jewish Press in cooperation with the Pinellas County Board of Rabbis. Columns are assigned, on a rotating basis by the board.

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