Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Sukkos and Simchas Torah

Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Sukkos - Why Booths?

Guest contributor: R' Mendel Zlotnick

The holiday of Sukkos starts on the 15th day of Tishrei. The holiday of Sukkos is characterized by the unique commandment of dwelling in Sukkos - temporary, hut-like dwellings, as the Torah says in Vayikra (23: 42-43 ) "In booths you are to dwell for seven days ...so that your generations will know that I caused the children of Israel to dwell in booths when I took them from the land of Egypt...."

The Sages in the tractate of Succah (11b) disagree as to what the "booths" that the Israelites dwelt in refer to. Rabi Eliezer says that these booths are a reference to the miraculous "Ananai HaKavod," the "Clouds of Glory," with which G-d surrounded the Israelites throughout their forty year sojourn in the desert after having left Egypt. These clouds protected the Israelites from the elements and the hot desert floor, kept the Jews' clothing clean, and guided the nation of Israel through the desert. Rabi Akiva maintains, however, that these "booths" refer to the actual booths or huts that the Israelites built while in the desert to serve as their dwellings.

The Aruch HaShulchan (Orech Chayim 625 ) raises the following question: Whereas Rabi Eliezer's booths were manifestations of a great miracle that G-d performed for the Jews in the desert, and certainly merits a commandment commemorating the infinite kindness and protection of G-d, Rabbi Akiva's interpretation is most puzzling in light of the commandment to dwell in the Sukkah. What is the significance of the huts that the Jews lived in while in the desert?

The Aruch HaShulchan answers his own question. According to Rabi Akiva, the Succah commemorates the greatness of the Jewish people. Their faith in G-d was so complete and so total that they traveled into the uninhabitable desert wasteland at G-d's command. In this wasteland, the Jews did not even have permanent dwellings, but merely booths, trusting in G-d that He would care for their every need in the wilderness, which of course, He did.

Based on what we have seen, both Rabi Eliezer's and Rabi Akiva's interpretation of the Israelite's "booths" in the desert relate our observance of the commandment of Sukkos to G-d's miraculous protection of the Jews during their forty year sojourn through the desert on route to the land of Israel. This protection was not furnished only to the Jewish people while in the desert, but in His infinite kindness, G-d has extended that protection to our people throughout the ages. This special protection, symbolized by the Sukkah, has ensured the continued existence and survival of the Jewish people until this very day.


Check out all of the posts on Elul and Rosh HaShana. Head over to http://www.torah.org/learning/yomtov/ to access the YomTov Page. Then click on the icon for the holiday of your choice.
For questions, comments, and topic requests, please write to Rabbi Yehudah Prero.

 
Sell Chometz Online







ARTICLES ON KEDOSHIM AND THE OMER:

View Complete List

A Holy Mindset
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

A Count of Anticipation
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Don't Take Revenge...
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Jewish Character
Shlomo Katz - 5761

Stamped a Sinner
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5757

A Reservoir of Love
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

ArtScroll

Cloaked in Dignity
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5761

"Peripheral Events" May be the Focus of Divine Providence
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5766

A Good Place to Begin
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Sweet Revenge
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761

Setting High Goals
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5760

All the Rest is Commentary!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

> "What Does God Say?"
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

The Value of Reverence
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5764

The Decline
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764

Holiness Applies to More than Bagel
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5757



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information