Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sukkot after going out of Egypt?

I don't do this much, but this is something from one of my friends, Ethan Bienenfeld. It is really amazing so enjoy!

With the holiday of Sukkot coming up I would like to relate some words of torah I heard from Rav Meir Goldvicht. The word Sukkot is found numerous times throughout tanach. What we must realize, however, is that in tanach the name of a person or place is not just a name, but rather the essence of that place or person. The first place that the Jewish people encountered when they came out of Egypt was called Sukkot. Additionally, when Yaakov departed from his brother Eisav for the last time, he first came to Sukkot. What is the special significance of this place called Sukkot? It is not just coincidence that Yaakov and Bnei Yisrael both encountered a place named Sukkot after such events.
During the daily morning prayers of Shacharit the prayers are written in a specific order. The Talmud in Berachot (4b) makes a point of mentioning that one must make sure to say the bracha of Ga'al Yisrael right before beginning the Shemoneh Esreh . The Talmud makes a point to state that one must make sure to connect the statement of geula, or redemption, mentioned in the bracha of Ga'al Yisrael to the Shemoneh Esreh. The Talmud then goes on to ask as to why this is not the case with Maariv. In Maariv these two prayers are not connected but rather the bracha of Hashkiveinu is inserted between them. The Talmud resolves this problem by stating that the bracha of Hashkiveinu is really just an extension of the bracha for Geula – it is a Geula Arichta.

Whenever God brings the Jewish people to a position of Geula, or redemption and freedom, it is always in danger of being lost. Despite reaching the threshold of peace and serenity, the possibility of it all being lost is always imminent. Therefore, our need for God's protection does not end once we achieve redemption. On the contrary, we are in need of God's protections always, even within a framework of redemption. Even more so we need this protection to maintain the state of Geula that we are in. This protection, this power, this Shemira, is the Sukkah

The Sukkah is a completely open place - it is open to the heavens, and open to visitors. On Sukkot we are commanded to leave our secure homes and bring our homes into the Sukkah. This demonstrates our belief that our protection comes not from the bricks and wood of the house, but rather directly from God; even in the open, flimsy Sukkah we are completely secure. Looking back at Yaakov and Bnei Yisrael, we now understand that they went from redemption to Sukkot in order to gain the protection of the Sukkah for the new state of Geula that they found themselves in. We can now understand the Gemara's ruling regarding the Bracha of Hashkiveinu. In that Beracha we say "U'fros Aleinu Sukkat Shlomecha" – 'and spread over us your Sukkah of peace" - we ask that God not only grant us Geula, but also a Shemira for the Geula – a Geula Arichta!

Chag Sameach

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