Sukkot

Chol Hamoed

  1. [Sukkot] There is a commandment in the Torah to be joyful on Sukkot. The books of Jewish Law tell us to eat foods that we like and to buy and wear new clothing that we like etc. If we value spiritual joy, why do we also attach value to physical enjoyments? Shouldn’t we emphasize the fact that spiritual joy is the real joy?
  2. [Sukkot] On Sukkot, we wave the palm branch together with the willow branches, myrtle branches and the etrog. Our tradition tells us that each article represents a different type of person, and taking them together shows the unity of the Jewish people. The books also talk about each article representing a different part of the body. There are many different metaphorical interpretations of this commandment. If a person takes the articles without thinking of any metaphorical meaning, is he or she doing the commandment in a worse way, or in a better way?
  3. [Sukkot] Rabbi Nachman says that sukkah, and prayer with concentration and the land of Israel all represent the same idea. What do these three commandments have in common?
  4. [Zechariah 14:21–Haftara of first day of Sukkot] “…on that day, there will no longer be a merchant (of religious articles) in the house of God.” We have nothing against merchants in general. Why, and in what situations, do we find it offensive when people make profits from religion and religious articles?
  5. [Kohelet 5:1] “…a time to search and a time to lose…” Kohelet is telling us that there is a time for everything in the world. When is the time to lose?  Don’t we know that everything has its proper time? What new understanding is Kohelet trying to teach us?  

Commentary

When, because of tshuva, one reduces the life-force…there is also a reduction of the will to do good. The vitality of the pure life is also weakened…Therefore, the time of repentance is followed by days of holy joy and happiness, in order to restore the will for good and the pure vitality of life. Then the repentance becomes complete.

–R. Avraham Y. H.  Kuk, 1865-1935, Lithuania and Israel.

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava—Eli Zucker

And this study page is dedicated to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer

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