Parshat Ha’azinu and Sukkot

(Deuteronomy 32:1-52)

  1. [32:2] “My doctrine shall drop like the rain / My speech shall come down like the dew.” God’s teaching is compared to the rain and the dew. The Torah is compared to water, and especially to the water of the sea. Why are images of water very good metaphors for the Torah?
  1. [32:52] “From far off you will see the land, but you will not come to the land…” It seems that this “favour” from God will increase Moshe’s yearning for the land. However, “yearning” is considered a very good thing by our tradition. What is so good about yearning?
  1. Among the laws of the Sukkah, there are a number of interesting and very strange laws. Jewish law allows us to imagine a complete sukkah when only part of the sukkah is there. For example, if the wall of the sukkah comes within 24 centimeters of the ground, we imagine that it is on the ground. Similarly, if a wall is at least a meter high, then we can say that the area between it and the roof is filled in. Why are these laws that allow us to imagine parts of the sukkah suitable to the festival of Sukkot?
  1. Normative Jewish law tells us to spend time in the sukkah and also to sleep in the sukkah (if the weather allows it). There are Chassidim who do not sleep in the sukkah because they say that the sukkah is too holy for sleeping activities. What might be the philosophical argument between these two points of view?
  1. [1st day of Sukkot, Zechariah 14:16] “…everyone that is left of all the nations…shall go up from year to year… to keep the feast of Sukkot”. According to the prophet, Sukkot is for all the nations. Which of the themes of Sukkot are the most universal?


Through real pure tshuvah, one has to go back to the world and to life. This returns holiness to its proper place, and sets up God’s presence in the world.

–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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