The sukkah is a symbol of fragility. We build the temporary structure each year and know that it is only meant to last for the week-long holiday. It sways in the breeze. The raindrops land inside. The animals nibble at our decor. We know it could come crashing down on us.
Spread over us the sukkah of Your peace. Blessed are You O Lord, who spreads out a sukkah of peace over us, over the entire people Israel, and over Jerusalem.
Way back in July 1990, when my daughter Katie was two years old, Ellen turned to our little girl and said, "Tell Daddy something he doesn't know." Katie whispered, smiling shyly, "Today is Mommy's birthday." Can you say doghouse?
The point of being Jewish is to have a relationship with God. Yet, a relationship implies a certain give and take, and there is precious little in the Torah that talks about what we have that God could possibly need. What can we give to God?
At the end of Parashat Emor, a disturbing incident is related. In the heat of a fight, a man curses God and is stoned to death for blasphemy (Leviticus 24:10-23). It is understandable that readers may be repulsed by this narrative, and shocked and angry to find it in the Torah.
The Eternal One spoke to Moses, saying: "Speak to the Israelite people and say to them: These are My fixed times, the fixed times of the Eternal, which you shall proclaim as sacred occasions."
Our congregation's sukah was blown down by the wind last year, just after the beginning of the Sukot festival. The cause was one of those freak storms that tear up trees, down power lines, and destroy sukot.
Like a giant tent spread atop three tall pillars that support it and give it shape, the Jewish year is held up by the Shalosh R'galim, the "three pilgrimage festivals" Pesach commemorates the joy of liberation and freedom, Shavuot acknowledges the power of God's word reveale