Photo Credit: Jodie Maoz

We all left the synagogue after the beautiful connection we had with Hashem on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and we finally made it into Hashem’s great big hug, our Sukkah.

What an electrifying time. So pure, so happy, and so exhilarating. The year has begun with so much hope and promise that only good things await us in the future. It’s a whole month of celebration, of dressing up, of eating our holiday meals together. It’s a time of rejoicing.

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Every night there is a great gathering surrounding the ritual of the Gathering of the Water that was done in the time of the holy Temple.

When the Temple in Jerusalem stood, a unique service was performed every morning throughout the Sukkot holiday: the Nisuch HaMayim (pouring of the water), or Water Libation Ceremony.

According to the Talmud, Sukkot is the time of year in which Hashem judges the world for rainfall; therefore this ceremony, like the taking of the Four Species, invokes Hashem’s blessing for rain in its proper time.

The water was drawn from the pool of the Shiloach and carried up to the temple. The joy that was accompanied with this ritual was beyond words.

Afterwards, every night in the outer Temple courtyard, tens of thousands of spectators would gather to watch the Simchat Beit HaShoeivah (Rejoicing at the Place of the Water-Drawing), as the most pious members of the community danced and sang songs of praise to Hashem.

The dancers would carry lit torches, and were accompanied by the harps, and trumpets and other instruments of the Levites.

According to the Mishnah, “He who has not seen the rejoicing at the Place of the Water-Drawing has never seen rejoicing in his life.”

The holiday of Sukkot, the streets are filled with visitors and families who came to give thanks to Hashem in Yerushalayim, especially at the Kotel. At night everyone enjoys the rejoicing of the water carrying celebration.

It was related that when Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel was rejoicing with the joy of the Water-Drawing he would take eight burning torches in one hand and toss them upwards; he tossed one and caught one, and never did one touch the other.

As we all enjoy and rejoice during this happy time, let us pray that all of the people of Israel can come back and celebrate here in Israel.

Since corona has hit the world, coming to Israel hasn’t been as easy as it used to be. Lots of paper work and costly permission arrangements must be made to enter the country, and many Jews who used to come freely and very frequently, cannot do so at all or as easily as they had in the past.

All these Jews are terribly missed. We feel the absence of all the Jewish families that used to come so often.

We have just begun a new year, a year of hope and of good news for everyone. Hashem wants all the Jewish people to return home to Israel and not only for a visit. All the Jews belong in Israel, and there is no better time than now.

It’s the sign of the redemption. That all the Jews gather back home.

I pray for all the Jews to return, to Israel.

I have a lot of family that lives in the U.S., and there is nothing I would love more than to see them all returning home. I know it’s hard for many Jews to move to Israel because of their work and whole lives that they set up, over so many year, in the United States. But all the signs to return home to the Promised Land are here.

It’s written that only in happiness will we be redeemed. The holiday of Sukkot is the happiest time of the year.

I pray that my entire family together with all the Jews of the world, take this time of great rejoicing and come back home. Not only for a vacation or for the holidays, but to live.

There is so much building and changes going on in every city in Israel. It’s Hashem’s way of letting all His children know, there is room for everyone, just return.

Happy Sukkot to everyone, and welcome back home all my loved ones.

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Michal can be reached at michal@jewishpress.com