Sukkot - What is permanent and what is temporary in life?
Every year we get excited on Sukkot. Everyone leaves their homes and builds a "sukkah" - which is a small and simple house, made of simple and available materials; Fabric, wood. We put up a "Sechach" - a roof from branches, move the chairs, table and beds, hang some decorations with verses from the Hebrew Bible about the Land of Israel on the walls and go to sleep in the "Sukkah". Camping near the house!
A little weird, isn't it? This is not done during summer vacation, but in the autumn season, and many times it even rains in the sukkah.
I have a stone house, stable and strong, in which I invested a lot of money and thought. And suddenly we go out and leave everything, spending 7 days outside the house, in a "poor" and simple structure.
What is the meaning?
On Sukkot, we leave the permanent home for "Beit Arai" - a temporary home.
In the religious sense, this has the meaning of thanking God and having trust in Him, at a time when all the fruit and grain would be collected in to the house, rejoicing with everything that had grown, leaving the safe, and detached from nature - house, and going to sleep under the sukkah, under the "Sechach".
The "Sechach" guards and protects us like God, sleeping in the "shadow of the Divine" - and we understand that everything we have gathered – comes not only from our strength, but from the blessing of God.
But even in the social sense there is a deep message here. Every person accumulates property, objects and memories throughout his life that give him a sense of security, but it is a false security. You build a house, and if you are capable, you even surround it with a wall, and thus stay away from both nature and other people. The feeling of accumulating property and building a house causes a person to concentrate on himself and judge others according to their status - how much wealth and how many assets they have.
One week a year you leave the "safe" permanent home, and go out to the sukkah which is a simple and temporary home. One week a year where everyone is equal, both rich and poor, everyone has a sukkah - a house made of simple materials, built in nature, outdoors. Also, you become more open to accepting the other and seeing who he really is, not according to the property and beautiful house he has. The sukkah puts us in the right focus - to connect to the spiritual sides of each of us. Connecting with others, with nature, and with the Creator.
This weekend, we return to the permanent home, but then we stop - there is one more day of holiday, inside the house. We do not immediately move on in life, but rather we stop and internalize what we learned this week about life.
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