21 September 2018 / 12 Tishrei 5779
The Rabbis write that “Amongst humanity, no two faces are the same, so too our minds and temperaments are all different.” We all experience the world in different ways. Perhaps this is one perspective as to why there is such a stark contrast in between the former and latter Haggim in the month of Tishrei.
In the first half of the month of Tishrei: Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are sombre and provide an opportunity for introspection. This isin marked contrast to the latter festivals of Sukkot and Simchat Torah, were the mood is one and of Happiness and Joy. To cater for the diversity in humanity, we are given an opportunity to serve Hashem both through Introspection, Prayer with Joy and Happiness.
During the forthcoming festival of Sukkot we are commanded to build a temporary hut, a Sukkah, as our dwelling. For seven days and nights, we eat all our meals in the Sukkah and regard this as our home. This is in remembrance of the 40 years that our ancestors wandered in the Wilderness, following the Exodus. During this time, miraculous “clouds of glory” encompassed them, shielding them from the dangers and discomforts of the desert. Therefore, at this time we remember Hashem’s kindness and reaffirm our trust in His providence by dwelling in a Sukkah, a hut of temporary construction with a roof covering of branches for the duration of the Chag.
There is a further Sukkot observance of “the Four Kinds“, where we take an Etrog (citron), a Lulav (palm frond), three Hadassim (myrtle twigs) and two Aravot (willow twigs). On each day of the festival (excepting Shabbat), we take these Four Kinds, and wave them in all six directions reflecting Hashem’s omnipresence in our world.
Sukkot is also called The Time of Our Joy; indeed, a special joy pervades the festival as our homes, the synagogues and streets are filled with song, music and dance.
Those who wish to purchase “the Four Kinds “, or a prefabricated Sukkah or a covering for the roof (Schach), there are ample local providers of all these products. Please email me if you require further details.
Wishing you and your family a Joyous Yom Tov.
Rabbi and Sheyna Riesenberg