With the recent tragic murders in Las Vegas – in one of the worst mass shootings in the USA, leaving over 58 dead and over 500 wounded – we are all left stunned, wondering: what is our world coming to?
The holiday of Sukkot couldn’t come at a better time. Its message of love and embrace stands in stark contrast to the anger and hate we are witnessing. And indeed, the Sukkot message offers us both hope and an antidote to the pain in our troubled world.
A sukkah – the temporary hut we dwell in during this holiday – reminds us of the temporary dwellings G-d made to shelter and protect our ancestors in the wilderness after leaving Egypt. A sukkah demonstrates our faith and awareness that that G-d is our true source of security, not our physical abodes and man-made structures.
A famous question is asked: Since we sit in sukkot to commemorate the shelter G-d provided us upon leaving Egypt, why don’t we celebrate Sukkot right after Passover? Why do we do so only six months later, in the fall?
The classic answer is that dwelling in Sukkot specifically in the autumn, when the general population returns to the comfort of their homes, demonstrates the power of our faith in G-d.
The first Rebbe of Ger, the Chidushei HaRim, takes this idea to another level with a magnificent explanation, one that is hinted to in the acronym of the word “Sukkah” itself.
His explanation coupled with two beautiful stories, one of a man who kissed his sechach, and another who created sechach out of aluminum, teaches us how Sukkot elicits a deep love and purity within each of us.