More than any other Jewish holiday or ritual, I love the audacity of Sukkot. After the many profound words and seemingly endless prayers of the High Holidays, Sukkot offers a very different holiday mode. The main theme and ultimate goal of the holiday is to achieve climactic joy throughout the holiday, including the intermediate days, which are known as Chol HaMo-eid Sukkot.
It was a quiet Jerusalem day at the Wall, one of those brutally hot June afternoons with the sun beating down on the sandy hues of Jerusalem stone. The day seemed familiar yet something was different.
I hate camping. The thought of sleeping on the hard ground among the bugs makes my skin crawl.
This Shabbat is known as Chol HaMo-eid Sukkot. The very description is curious. Sukkot is a holiday that lasts for seven days.
For most of our congregations, the procession of Torah scrolls on Simchat Torah will begin with a textual reminder that Israel "knows" that Adonai is God.
The home-repair season is drawing to a close in my part of the country, and I still have not fixed my roof. That omission weighs on me. I want to protect my household and my house; I think each of us does. So we build our roofs and our walls and try to live safely. But Rav Kook is right: That is not enough. Destruction can still come, whether by flood or by poverty or by airplane. Sukkot reminds us of the vulnerability with which we live.
- What has been will be, what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun.
Oneg Shabbat, the Pesach seder, b'nei mitzvah buffets-there is hardly a present-day holiday or life-cycle celebration that isn't intimately connected with food. Even our fast days are about food! But there is an ancient precedent for this ongoing attention to what's on the table.