We shopped for the arba minim in New York this year. It was strange to see people looking for a lulav, hadassim, aravot and an etrog against the backdrop of highways, food chains and skyscrapers.
But this contrast only made the message of Sukkot much more powerful – the holiday that calls upon us to leave the urban, developed world and turn to the simplicity of nature; to abandon the chase after property and money in favor of a family get-together in the sukkah.
It seems that the more advanced technology becomes, the more relevant – and revolutionary – the message of Sukkot becomes. No smartphone application can replace the human encounter with the wood and schach and going outside of one’s home for a week.
Rabbi Nachman of Breslov once asked one of his disciples: “Have you looked up at the sky today?”
Already 200 years ago he warned us not to run from the elevator to the office, from the parking lot to the shopping mall without lifting our eyes up for a moment. The holiday of Sukkot forces us to do so, to leave the masach (screen) in favor of the schach.