From one wedding to another, rich or poor, the chupah ceremony always has the crowd excited. Everyone wants to see the groom put the ring on the bride’s finger and break the glass under his foot while they all clap and cheer loudly, “Mazal Tov!”
I assume most people have attended many weddings in their lifetime. Yet each and every time we attend a marriage ceremony, we stand there (that is the custom in Israel) so quietly, not wanting to miss a word, as if it’s our first encounter with such an event. What is so powerful about the chupah that we don’t want to miss it? What makes it so magical?
It’s a combination of many factors. Being there, often outdoors, it seems as though we have traveled back in time to the weddings of our forefathers. Everyone is dressed their best and all the families are standing together in peace and harmony. For just a few moments it seems as if the world has been redeemed and everyone is happy.
The chupah stands for binding two people together in love and holiness forever. At this special moment, G-d’s presence is stronger than ever. This is why it is written that each time a couple weds in holy matrimony, it’s as if a building block is added to the Holy Temple. That is how special the wedding celebration actually is.
The happy holiday of Sukkot is upon us. The sukkah is just like the holy chupah. While we sit in the sukkah, it’s like we are under the chupah with Hashem, connecting and binding with G-d in such an intimate and holy relationship that will take us though the whole year. We devote our lives to Hashem who loves us so much, and He in return comes closer and closer to us, protecting us and guiding us in the direction of the light.
The sukkah stands outside, with minimum protection from the weather and from just about anything that can knock the structure down. We gather all our family and loved ones into the sukkah which isn’t so large, and yet there is always so much love and happiness inside. The sukkah, like the chupah, is pure and simple. It is symbolic of a strong spiritual connection.
After the month of Elul during which we prayed and prepared every day for the Day of Judgment, tried to correct our ways and become closer to our Father, our King, we went through the holiest days of the year on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, praying and clinging to Hashem with every inch of our souls. Finally, we reach Sukkot and it’s indeed the greatest wedding of the year. We are all like brides, and Hashem is our groom. We have worked so hard and intensely on the love connection, and after all that hard work and preparation, we finally make it to the wedding – the holiday of Sukkot arrives.
This is the reason we are all so happy on Sukkot. Hashem and the children of Israel are considered a couple, sharing a love connection like man and wife. The sukkah is like the arms of Hashem hugging and protecting His beloved.
Sukkot can come and go each and every year, and each time we are excited and in love as if it’s our first time in the sukkah, just like the chupah at any wedding ceremony. We always stand there and marvel at the beauty of the couple, at the love and connection between the two, at the families standing around so happy together.
Let us savor these special days of Sukkot where the connection to G-d is so clear and present. Let us hold onto these days before we have to leave and face all the challenges of the year ahead, with Hashem at our side but not with the intimacy we have while we are under the sukkah, connecting and celebrating with Hashem who was so close to us.
May we gather up all the love and devotion of Hashem during this time period, and may it carry us through the whole year.