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    Action & intellect – Sukkot

    Popular thinking regards Sukkot as a festival of action: you make the sukkah, you decorate the sukkah, you sit in the sukkah, you eat (some people sleep) in the sukkah, you transfer your activities to the sukkah – all true, but there is also an intellectual aspect.

    The Torah explains that the sukkah has a message, “that your descendants shall know that I caused the Israelites to dwell in sukkot when I brought them out of Egypt” (Lev. 23:42-43). The sukkah requires you to think, to know, to understand.

    What in particular does it tell us?

    Rabbi Eliezer says it recalls the clouds of glory with which God protected the Israelites. Without God we would never have survived.

    Rabbi Akiva’s view is that it reminds us of our humble, fragile past. We build and use the sukkah because it shows that we did not suddenly arrive at the gateway to Eretz Yisra’el without knowing who we were and how we got there.

    Our present and future are explained by our past.

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