Sukkot is an odd holiday for many reasons, not the least of which are the shaking of fruit and plants for God’s sake and the intentional construction of a flimsy hut. Under any other circumstances, being told to dwell in a poorly built structure while shaking flora from the Middle East would be a questionable request at best. Yet here we are, amidst the holiday of Sukkot in the new year of 5782. We have survived, thus far, an already vulnerable time in human history, where 1 in every 500 Americans has died due to COVID-19. Now, during these 7 days of Sukkot, we reinforce just how vulnerable we really are to the forces of nature.
Sukkot has many lessons; however, the most important lesson of all is the reminder that only when we dwell with others, in community, can we find safety. Celebrating inside a flimsy, vulnerable structure seems paradoxical. We’re susceptible to the weather, to animals, to mosquitoes especially, and even to people with malicious intent; yet, when we bring others into our sukkah, we also bring joy, a sense of community, and the knowledge that we are a little safer. The only way to celebrate while being vulnerable is within the loving embrace of a kahal kadosh, a sacred congregation.
Over the past few weeks, we have found immense joy in the bonds of our kahal kadosh. We’ve celebrated Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur under unimaginable conditions, and we’ve done so safely and with holy energy. Outside and in the rain, inside and socially distant, we have found happiness while being vulnerable.
As this holiday season comes to a close, join us this Friday night as we consecrate the youngest learners in our community outside in the physical sukkah and beneath the sukkah of shalom, the shelter of peace, that God spread over us. Then, on Monday night, we will gather one last time in the Sukkah with our sifrei Torah, our sacred Torah scrolls, to dance in the light of Torah.