Sukkot

Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer – Sukkot

October 6, 2009

Midrashic literature states that the Arba’ah Minim represent either four bodily organs (heart, spine, eyes and lips) or four different types of Jews (those who are learned and pious, only learned, only pious, or neither.) By taking the Four Species together, we symbolically unite diverse entities (parts of the body or individual Jews) to uniformly serve God. The heart, spine, eyes and lips all come together to perform mitzvos, and we aspire that all Jews unify to serve Hashem.

Why is this theme of bringing together various bodily organs or types of Jews particular to Sukkos? Why do we not find such a motif concerning Pesach or other yomim tovim?

Sukkos represents the Jew encountering the Shechinah and living in the shadow of the Divine. By dwelling in the sukkah – which is reflective of life in the Midbar, in which our ancestors were enveloped in God’s protective Presence and shielded in a miraculous sphere, replete with tangible kedushah and open miracles – the Jew relives the Midbar experience and again enters the veil of the Divine for a brief number of days.

What is the function of this unique encounter and state of existence? Is it for the sake of enjoying the inspiration and being saturated with holiness?

Any encounter with the Shechinah should serve to bring us closer to Hashem and to raise us to new levels of love and commitment to Him. It is for this reason that the Arba’ah Minim in particular represent the unification of bodily organs or of different types of Jews in avodas Hashem (service of God). By bringing these varied parts together in the service of Hashem, we declare that our exposure to His abode and the realm of kedushah (the sukkah) in which we dwell is not merely for our spiritual enjoyment; on the contrary, we utilize our brief, privileged stay in the seven-day sphere of kedushah in order to better express our avodah, and we thus seek to unify our brethren and bring together our entire beings to this goal. The mitzvah of Yeshivah B’Sukkah (Dwelling in the Sukkah) is not to be viewed as a spiritual indulgence, but as an opportunity to maximize avodas Hashem and include everything and everyone in our avodah.