How can we achieve unity and harmony? How can we prevent strife and conflict?
Sukkah provides us with the answer. Its very name is glaringly missing one of the five organs of articulation, which produce the different sounds of speech: The four letters of Sukkah (סוכה) are derived from four of the five sounds – the palate, teeth, throat and lips. But not the fifth – the tongue? Why?
A young man once approached the philosopher Socrates and asked, “Can you please teach me the gift of oratory?” He then spoke a continuous stream of words to show off his ability. Socrates finally placed his hand over his mouth and said, “Young man, I will have to charge you a double fee.” He asked why. Socrates replied, “I will have to teach you two arts – first, the art of holding your tongue; only then the art of using it.”
Tracing the root of all strife, an analysis of the nature of the human tongue, the meaning of a cryptic verse in the Book of Psalms, a fascinating insight from the Gaon of Vilna – all help illuminate how to use the power of the Sukkah to unite us, and protect us from divisiveness and discord.
In the Sukkah you never have to bite your tongue because it simply isn’t there.