web analytics
July 4, 2015 / 17 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Divine Protection (Daf Yomi Sukkah)


Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

The Torah proclaims the 15th day of Tishrei the beginning of the seven-day festival of Sukkot and requires that during that time we dwell in booths. Typically, the Torah gives no reason for its commandments and we are left to fathom them for ourselves. But the mitzvah of sukkah has a stated reason: “That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt.”

If the holiday of Sukkot commemorates the exodus from Egypt, which took place in the first month of Nisan, why are we told to dwell in booths in the seventh month of Tishrei? The answer may lie in mystery the Torah invests in the number seven. On the seventh day of each week we dedicate time, that precious and irretrievable asset, to God. And in return God shelters us in His cloud, where the pressures of time are suspended for the day.

Give and take is the essence of every relationship, including that of God and man. But when we came out of Egypt, we did not understand that. The wealth we accumulated from the Egyptians on the way out was invested in the golden calf. And so God summoned back His cloud of protection and left us to the pressures of our own possessions. It was only in the seventh month of Tishrei, when Moses returned from the mountain of God with the gift of amnesty, that we finally agreed to donate our cherished possessions to the building of God’s house rather than our own.

Between the eleventh and the fifteenth days of Tishrei, the Jews busied themselves with the building of the Mishkan, God’s residence. When the Mishkan was completed on the eve of the fifteenth day of Tishrei, God and man renounced their respective permanent residences. God descended from his lofty residence and resided in the House we built for Him. And we leave behind the house we built ourselves and reside in the sukkah He builds for us.

What were the desert sukkot made of? Some maintain they were God’s clouds that protected us from the elements as we trudged through the desert. Others say they were real booths we built ourselves. The Netziv suggests that both opinions are right. According to him, when the Jews encamped, they built their own sukkot. And when they were on the move, God protected them with His Cloud of Glory. Indeed the very construction of the sukkah seems to incorporate both opinions. The roof must be made of natural vegetation, unprocessed and unused by man, and like all Godly things it must be of a substance that cannot be contaminated.

Without the roof there is no sukkah. But without the walls there is no roof. In fact, the walls must be erected first or else the sukkah is disqualified. Just as the Shabbat is a joint venture in time between God and man, so too the sukkah is a joint venture in space between God and man. This perhaps explains why so many of the fundamental laws of eruvin (tzurat hapetach, lavud, gud asik, korah and lechi), are derived from the laws of Sukkot. When we are on the move in life, exiled from place to place, we turn to God, our Partner, for the protection of His cloud. When we are given the luxury of settling down, God turns to us, His partner, for the protection of our walls. Perhaps that is why the Ushpizin, the guests Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph and David, who according to the Kabbalah reside with us in our sukkot, feel so at home there – for they knew a nomadic existence in which they shared their fragile homes with God and God with them.

On the first two nights of Sukkot, eating in the sukkah is a Torah requirement that must be fulfilled. A person may not say, “I would rather skip dinner altogether and not eat in the sukkah.” One must, unless one is sick, have dinner in the sukkah.

On the other days of Sukkot there is no Torah requirement to eat in the sukkah, and one may decide (except on Shabbat and Yom Tov) to skip all meals and eat fruit or snacks outside the sukkah. Regular meals, however, must be eaten in the sukkah.

If it rains on the first two nights, one should wait a while – some say up to two hours – until it stops and then enter the sukkah, unless it is clear it will not stop. If one cannot wait, or if the rain will not stop, one enters the sukkah, recites Kiddush and Shehecheyanu, does not recite Leshev Basukkah, washes ones hands, eats some bread and returns indoors to eat. If it stops raining before one retires to bed, one returns to the sukkah, recites Leshev Basukkah, eats some bread and recites Birchat Hamazon.

Some see rain on Sukkot as Divine rejection. Others see it as Divine acceptance. After all, on Sukkot we pray for rain.

About the Author: Raphael Grunfeld’s book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Moed” (distributed by Mesorah) is available at OU.org and your local Jewish bookstore. His new book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Nashim & Nezikin,” will be available shortly.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Divine Protection (Daf Yomi Sukkah)”

  1. Gary Harper says:

    More Goy should read this. An excellent explanation of the concept of the true shelter.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
UN Human Rights Council
UN HRC Condemns Israel (But Not Hamas) for War Crimes
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Avi Weiss

With Ruth, The Torah seems to be stating that children shouldn’t be punished for the sins of parents

Neihaus-070315

Without a foundation, one cannot hope to build a structure.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Why do we have a parsha in Sefer Shemos named after Yisro who was not only a former idolater, but actually served as a priest for Avodah Zarah!

Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

This Land Is ‘My’ Land
‘[If The Vow Was Imposed] In The Seventh Year…’
(Nedarim 42b)

The Shulchan Aruch in the very first siman states that one should rise in the morning like a lion, implying that simply rising form bed requires strength of a lion, in line with the Midrash.

Attempts to interpret the message of Hashem in the absence of divine prophecy ultimately may twist that message in unintended ways that can lead to calamitous events.

Suddenly, the pilot’s voice could be heard. He explained that this was a special day for those passengers on board who lived in Israel.

If the sick person is thrust into a situation where he is compelled to face his sickness head on, we who are not yet sick can encourage him by facing it with him.

All agree that Jews ARE different. How? Why? The Bible’s answer is surprising and profound.

What’s the nation of Israel’s purpose in the world? How we can bring God’s blessings into the world?

“Is there a difference between rescuing and other services?” asked Ploni.

To my dismay, I’ve seen that shidduch candidates with money become ALL desirable traits for marriage

Bil’am’s character is complex and nuanced; neither purely good nor purely evil.

Amalek, our ultimate foe, understood that when unified, we are invincible and indestructible.

More Articles from Raphael Grunfeld
Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

If the sick person is thrust into a situation where he is compelled to face his sickness head on, we who are not yet sick can encourage him by facing it with him.

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

Less clear, however, is whether the concept applies to the area of civil law such as the law of transfer of property.

Conversely, no part of the Land within the boundaries delineated in Numbers 34 may be relinquished for any purpose whatsoever.

Although it is true that the Final Redemption will be accelerated when all Jews repent and accept the rule of Torah, there is also another scenario for the Final Redemption.

Should just a few communities settle the Land of Israel? Should there be a mass emigration of all Jews worldwide to Israel?

Why did so many of our great sages from the Rambam to Rabbi Moshe Feinstein live outside Israel?

God and the divine origin of His Torah are facts even though we do not fully comprehend them.

In order to be free of the negative consequences of violating a shvu’ah or a neder, the shvu’ah or neder themselves must be annulled.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/divine-protection-daf-yomi-sukkah/2014/02/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: