The State of Israel celebrates the Biblical holiday of Sukkot each and every year. What is truly fascinating is that despite the fact that it is a Jewish festival, there are many non-Jews who also in their own way also celebrate the Festival.
From the Wilderness to the Promised Land
The commandment to the Jewish people to dwell in a hut for seven days stems from the story of the Jewish people in Egypt. After God’s miraculous rescue of the entire nation from bondage in Egypt, God took the Jewish people into the wilderness. In the desert, He appeared to the entire nation and revealed to them His Covenant. This was all along the way to the Land of Israel. While they were in the desert, God protected His Chosen People in all kinds of ways. The “Clouds of Glory” and a fire both led and protected the Jewish people. Perhaps, just as important, he poured manna down from the heavens in order to sustain them in the desert. This went on for 40 years.
Life is Temporary
Today, the Jewish people do not just reenact the time in the desert. They relive and connect with the same Heavenly forces that are present at this time of year. They “move out” of their homes and live in a temporary dwelling. That is the key facet of the Sukkah. It needs to be temporary. It cannot have a ceiling that protects them from the basic elements. It needs to be under the heavens.
We need this reminder. It is a one week reminder – one entire week in which we straighten out our priorities for the entire year. We are part of this world and live in it. But we are connected to a Higher Being – and He is the one who truly protects us. That is the essence of the Sukkot holiday.