Shabbat Hol HaMoed Sukkot (5776)

Drash Cards for Shabbat Hol HaMoed Sukkot (5776)

by Marc Mangel

  • Judaism is a religion of duality and nothing captures it better than the Yom Kippur to Sukkot period
  • Yom Kippur:  we try to be like angels, wear white, fast, focus single-mindedly on our relationship with God.
  • We are told that Teshuvah — returning — and Tefillah — attachment to God — will connect us with the creative energy of the world, with the divine spirit
  • 5 days later comes Sukkot. We are told that  to connect to the divine energy we should build — or at least find — a booth and dwell in it: eat, sleep, talk, be there.
  • The Rebbe wrote: “The mitzvah of sukkah is unique, for it completely surrounds a person, from the soles of the feet to the head, encompassing all one’s garments, including shoes. Moreover, every action performed in a sukkah (eating, sleeping, etc.) is a mitzvah.This teaches that a person can serve the creator not just through study or prayer, but even in mundane physical activities”
  • That’s right, in a sukkah reading a magazine or watching something on your iPad can become a holy action.
  • How?  It is a two step process. First the physical — we either build a sukkah or find one. The second step is to  bring intention to the sukkah. Which intention?   To focus the decisions about personal growth and change of Yom Kippur into the real, mundane world, where achieving them is always harder than in the abstract of Yom Kippur where we are like angels.
  • Of course, one of the most important mitzvot of the sukkah is inviting. We invite the ancestors, we invite guests. This reminds us that it is through interpersonal acts of kindness  that we make the world holy.
  • In summary:  Yom Kippur — a day of transcendent incorporeality (if that is a word).  Sukkot — 8 days of making the mundane holy acts by bringing intention to the sukkah.
  • And what is the bridge between the two?  I remind you of what we say on Yom Kippur:  Teshuvah, Tefillah, and Tzedaka.  We cannot give Tzedaka the the spiritual world but only to the corporeal world.

• Sukkot ultimately reminds us of the importance of righteousness  — Tzedekness —  to others as we go forward from these holy days