What is the Sukkah all about?
- This topic has 23 replies, 12 voices, and was last updated 6 years, 7 months ago by Lilmod Ulelamaid.
September 22, 2010 6:34 am at 6:34 am #592436
I don’t have the time to do a long write up but I want to bring a few things into focus.
Sukkah is lzecher the ananei hakavod (the clouds of glory) which are the clouds of the Shechina which Hashem wrapped us in while we were in the Midbar. This protected us from the dryness and the heat as well as killed off any snakes and scorpions as well as shielded us from enemy artillery.
Our Sukkahs have TREMENDOUS kiddusha (holiness) they are mamash the shechinah. There are many Halachos regarding acting properly in the Sukkah. We should be cognizant of that and act and speak a way befitting for the Shechinahs presence.
A proof of the Kedusha of the sukkah is the inyan of Ushpizin. We have 7 holy guests (as well as the 4 Imahos) that come visit us over the course of the 7 days of Sukkos they don’t visit us during the rest of the year in our fancy houses yet now they visit us. The reason is because the Sukkah is the Shechinah and it has tremendous holiness and therefore they want to be there.
I’m sorry if its a bit intimidating but its good to know just how much Hashem loves us. Hashem embraces us and shields us in His Sukkah for the next 7 days. Its a beautiful Yom Tov. There’s so much that we can gain from it. I wish you all a Chag Sameiach, thank you for reading.September 22, 2010 3:18 pm at 3:18 pm #1186083artchillParticipant
Sukkos is zeman simchaseinu, where we show our relationship with Hashem through simcha, instead of fasting.
Sukkos represents protection against all behaviors that should be foreign to Jews.
To that end, on behalf of the entire mishpacha we wish an enjoyable and safe Sukkos/Simchas Torah period. For the Chicago readers, a special bracha, Avinu Shebashamayim Sim Shalom Bishchunoseinu!
I’ve got to log off now, but my assistant will monitor from up close!September 22, 2010 4:25 pm at 4:25 pm #1186084
I wish I had an assistant to monitor the blogs I read lol!September 22, 2010 4:30 pm at 4:30 pm #1186085the.nurseMember
I just heard this in a shiur and thought it was really nice.
Take a minute to ask yourself: who am I really? Am I a body -my external being -my clothes and my hair and my features etc…, or am I a soul -my internal being -my thoughts, my feelings, my neshama?
In this world, we are constantly waging a war between what our body wants, and what our souls want.
On Yom Kippur, we are telling Hashem that we are clearly souls. We cry out to Him and beg Him to forgive us for all the uncleanliness we have brought upon our neshamas. But on Y’K, it’s easy to identify as a soul. We don’t eat, don’t drink.. we stay in shul all day and daven.
The real test as identifying as a soul comes on Sukkos. Here, we have grand meals, we sing & dance, we have vacation (hopefully) from either work or school.. On Sukkos, we are telling Hashem that we are taking our entire guf – our whole physical being – and bringing it out into the Sukkah to bring it up to a spiritual level -a soul level. Here we show that our physical body, when used properly, is really one and the same with our soul.September 22, 2010 5:20 pm at 5:20 pm #1186086theprof1Participant
Succos is about teshuva from ahava or teshuva ilo’oh higher degree of teshuva. After the teshuva from yiroh of Rosh Hashono and Yom Kippur, the simcha that we have after realizing that Hashem gave us the opportunity to be absolved of sins and to start over, brings us to the higher degree of teshuva, from ahavas Hashem. Simcha open the intellectual eyes and makes us realize that Hashem is All Good and gives us only brocho and hashpo’os tovos. It is our sinning that ruins this and brings us problems. And through the simchas mitzvos of succos and the teshuva m’ahavo we are zoiche to actually bringing our whole corporeal bodies entirely within the walls of a mitzva. All other mitzvos, the act of the mitzva leaves the mitzva outside, like tefilin. On Shabbos the mitzva surrounds us but its a spiritual surrounding. On Succos we are surrounded physically by the mitzva.September 28, 2012 1:52 am at 1:52 am #1186087
Hello Coffee Room,
Although this is an old thread, I am very grateful to be able to read your thoughts on this particular holiday, as it may be the one that I know and understand the least about. Does anyone else have any Sukkos thoughts or metaphors that you found helpful in gaining a broad perspective on this holiday? Thank you!September 28, 2012 2:27 am at 2:27 am #1186088yichusdikParticipant
One of the clearest ideas on the meaning of the sukkah that I have learned is the concept that for these 7 days we recognize the fragility of our existence, and the dependence we have on the almighty for protection and sustenance. The sukkah is transient, temporary, and not “strong”. We put ourselves at the mercy of the elements and demonstrate our reliance on Hashem.September 28, 2012 4:49 am at 4:49 am #1186089
It is the only mitzvah (other than mikvah for a woman) where our entire bodies are engulfed and surrounded by the mitzvah. It is a time when Hashem comes to be close with us and wants to just be with us and enjoy being together. Envision it as God our Heavenly father who loves infinitely saying “I love you, my dear beloved nation, so so much, here’s a big hug FOR THE NEXT 7 DAYS!”September 28, 2012 5:58 am at 5:58 am #1186090
I know this may be a stupid question but have you ever been to the Aish.com (mods please allow) website? They have great articles, videos and audio lectures on all topics of Judaism. You will learn much over there.
Also check out simpletoremember.com you will be able to learn much overthere as well.September 28, 2012 6:25 pm at 6:25 pm #1186091HaLeiViParticipant
As with any Mitzva in the Torah, there are many reasons and insights. The deeper something is the more ways there are to bring it out.
The basic idea is, as it says in the Torah: “With this you will remember that I sat you in booths when you left Egypt.” This refers to the clouds that surrounded us to protect and hide us, or to actual Succos according to some. But, as with all Mitzvos, we know that we don’t understand the full depth and reason.
Being in the Succah is being enveloped in a Mitzva of Hashem. After accepting Hashem’s kingdom and returning to Hashem with repentance, we go even further to be accepted by Hashem. Chazal say that on Succos we leave our permanent dwelling to enter a temporary one. We are realizing and playing out the fact that this world is only a anteroom to the world to come.
With the Succah we focus on the fact that we are under the protection of Hashem and that the whole world belongs to him.September 28, 2012 6:51 pm at 6:51 pm #1186092
Hello Yichusdik and WIY,
Thank you for your beautiful metaphors Yichusdik and your website leads WIY!
Yichusdik, what you wrote is poetic and reminds me of a book I’m reading right now — The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel.
WIY, your questions are never stupid!! You may safely assume that a newbie like me is not familiar with even the most basic sources, so please please suggest away! I will check these sites out.
Having read over the various old Sukkos threads, I have a question that maybe someone in the CR can answer…where I live in the suburbs and country, safety in the Sukkah is not an issue. I am curious though, for those in a major metropolitan area like New York City, is anyone able to sleep in the Sukkah overnight? If so, how do people deal with safety threats posed by potential malfeasants in the city?September 30, 2012 1:09 am at 1:09 am #1186093
Hello Coffee Room,
I read a story of a very inspiring Sukkah yesterday that I thought I would share with you!
It would seem that in the Berkshires, there is this 100+ year old farm, the Gould farm (?), that has been used as a place where people with mental health concerns may go for a few months to live, work, and develop life skills to help them in their rehabilitation. Some people there built a very earthy Sukkah, composed of such things as animal corn, as a communal effort. I read the story in The Jewish Week and thought it was inspiring that people in the midst of such adversity could build this beautiful shelter! Maybe the story will warm your hearts as well.
The story made me think about the different wonderful harvests we have as human beings…of course, we have our seasonal harvest with it’s glorious pumpkins, apples, corn, and all kinds of crops. It is magnificent to celebrate these gifts of G-d at this time of year. It is also so profound and moving to me to think about spiritual harvests of the heart and soul, like the one that generated this Sukkah in the Bershires…these fruits have a way of letting us wrap each other in the shelter of love and companionship when we may feel most alone, like these people trying to rebuild their lives on Gould’s farm.
I hope that your Sukkos is a joyous celebration!September 30, 2012 8:40 pm at 8:40 pm #1186094
Thank you as always, HaLeiVi, for boiling down the issues to its essentials for me! I especially appreciate the concept of the Sukkah being a metaphor for an anteroom to the world to come — it inspires a lot of anticipation and hopefulness in me. I hope that you have a very joyous Sukkos! (I hope that that is an appropriate wish for Sukkos — I am not sure, but my reading made me think that it is a happy occasion, so I thought that wish would be okay?).September 30, 2012 9:36 pm at 9:36 pm #1186095
There are various opinions about sleeping in the Succah, especially in NYC.
Probably the biggest issue for most is actually having a Succah, espcially if you live in an apartment building and cant have one. If you cant have a succah and have to use a communal Succah, you are not sleeping in the Succah.
Many people do have houses and this depends , Some people have private yards where safety isnt really an issue, Then it depends if you sleep in the Succah or not. Many people today dont sleep in the Succah even if its safe (There are opinions that many hold that in Northern Climates , you dont have to sleep in the Succah)
There is of course the safety issue for others, whether its people or wild animals as well (There are Possums and Raccons in NYC and I would not want to wake up next to a Raccoon)October 3, 2012 3:28 am at 3:28 am #1186096
Would you say that more people in big cities like New York go to communal sukkas due to space restrictions?October 3, 2012 3:36 am at 3:36 am #1186097sheinMember
I would venture that the very religious communities in NYC generally have a very high proportion of families that have their own Succah. Generally the main reason one wouldn’t have one is due to space restrictions. But most members of the religious communities in NYC live in houses, not apartment buildings, and usually have ample space to build a Succah at their NYC homes.October 3, 2012 3:44 am at 3:44 am #1186098
Thank you for the info shein! I am really looking forward to being in my first one; so far I have just seen lots of pictures (albeit lovely ones!).October 3, 2012 3:03 pm at 3:03 pm #1186099
Auora, It more depends where you live
In Williamsburg and Boro Park (Brooklyn) I think less have Succahs and the ones that I see are mostly on a Balcony (You can only use the Balcony if there is nothing on top of the Balcony and it goes straight up to the Sky)
many people there live in Apartment Buildings. In Manhattan Lower East Side and the Upper West Side almost nobody has succahs.
The rest of the City is probably more private houses.
And Even those Balcony Succahs, I am not sure exactly how someone would sleep in one, they are tiny and barely enough room many times just to eat on a Card tableOctober 3, 2012 3:05 pm at 3:05 pm #1186100
Also Aurora, you can drive Today (Wendsday October 3) Tommorrow , Friday and Sunday to a Succah.
I am sure Chabad of Philadelphia has a Succah and might even have some sort of Succah party that you could attendOctober 4, 2012 2:33 am at 2:33 am #1186101
Thank you for the info and suggestions zahavasdad! I hope you are having a joyful Sukkos 🙂October 13, 2016 2:35 am at 2:35 am #1186102147Participant
Sukkah is about bringing your entire body into the Sukkah, unlike Pesach where the entire Pesach goes into your body.October 13, 2016 3:57 am at 3:57 am #1186103Lilmod UlelamaidParticipant
There are only three Mitzvos that are done with your whole body – Sukkah, Yishuv HaAretz and Mikveh. If you eat in a Sukkah in Eretz Yisrael, you are doing two Mitzvos with your whole body at once!October 13, 2016 1:05 pm at 1:05 pm #1186104MenoParticipant
I’m guessing it’s not appropriate to put a mikveh in a succah, right?October 13, 2016 3:09 pm at 3:09 pm #1186105Lilmod UlelamaidParticipant
Meno – I was waiting for someone to say something like that!
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