Friday, October 17, 2008

The Sukkah- template for the Jewish home

Ever since the Jews left Egypt some 3500 years ago, we've been wandering the globe. Be it due to pogroms, expulsions or our innate itch for change, we've crisscrossed the globe numerous times through our history.

That may explain why we resonate with the Sukkah- a temporary home that can be set up quickly just about anywhere. In a sense, the Sukkah represents the Jewish home: It's not rooted in one place, requires little to build and can be constructed from readily accessible materials.

But, I suspect there's more to the Sukkah's message for a Jewish home. After all, the Torah expects us to make it our home- in every sense- for a full week right at the start of the Jewish year. Whatever we do in the first days of our year impacts how the rest of the year progresses- and Sukkah is no exception.

To build a kosher Sukkah, you need to have two primary elements:

1. Walls that are stable.
2. A roof that is not.

If your Sukkah walls flap in the wind, your Sukkah may not be kosher. A Sukkah's roof that is impermeable is a no-no (you need to see the stars or at least let the rain in).

Regardless of where in the world our People has made its home, we have always built on these two principles.

Our walls are solid. What people do in their societies is their business, but we preserve an environment of our own inside our homes. Our Jewish identity remains pristine, safely preserves inside the stable walls that define us, regardless of where we are.

And, no matter how tough our situation might be, we keep an eye out for the heavens. There is no firm ceiling to our potential, to the possibility for change and improvement. At all times, we remain aware of the gaps above us that allow us to dream, to transcend the here-and-now, and to succeed.

Happy Sukkos!

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