Shabbat Succot | 5764
From the works of Hagaon Harav Shaul Yisraeli zt”l - Drasha for Sukkot 5708(?) (’47)
“All citizens in Israel shall sit in the sukkot in order that your generations shall know…” (Devarim 23: 42-43). Sitting in the sukka and understanding its significance serve as a certificate of citizenship in Israel. However, the lessons to apply from the sukka changeaccording to the generation, and, therefore, Chazal stressed different aspects of the sukka.
One opinion describes the historical sukkot as actual booths, while another refers to “clouds of glory.” There are times when one needs to be stressed and times when the other is more relevant. When the Jewish people were sent into exile and their existence was one of a temporary, shaky dwelling, there was less need to stress that element of the sukka. Rather, the more powerful message was of Divine clouds that miraculously protected the Jewish people during its sojourns in the wilderness and the various exiles. Even during the time of the most horrible decrees, the Divine protection guarded at least “one from a city and two from a family” and returned them to Zion, as our own eyes have seen.[Let us examine parallels between our situation and that of the generation that left Egypt]. There are among us those who ask if it wouldn’t be better to sit on “the pot of meat” [Shemot 16:3- a reference to the plenty of Egypt]. This feeling exists despite the bitter experience of the true price of apparently free melons [see Bamidbar 11:6] that we did not need to plant in Egypt, the land of plenty [and other foreign lands, such as Germany]. Having finally made it to Eretz Yisrael and encountering, not respite, but encampments, temporary dwellings, unusual eating, and a new Jewish administration, we need to remember the sukka’ssecond message. The sukka also recalls the physical sukkot of the time of Exodus. Bnei Yisrael of that generation did not leave Egypt and enter Eretz Yisrael without hardship or trials. Only after dwelling in booths, after entering Eretz Yisrael and working hard to conquer and split up the Land, did Bnei Yisrael merit to receive the good and broad Land. “And plant us in our borders.” Eretz Yisrael cannot be like another land of immigration, where people decide to stay only if they find favorable living conditions. Here we have to plant our roots. Although it isn’t easy, we will succeed with stubborn dedication.When we succeed to become acclimated in our land and build permanent houses, there is a need to stress the theme of the temporary dwelling. We must realize that however protective our homes are from the elements, physical housing is temporary and misleading. Hashem is our true protection. Even or especially in our own home of Eretz Yisrael, we flourish because of a constant Divine Providence which abounds here (see Devarim 11:12). We will build and plant and become implanted ourselves, but we will do so with an awareness and appreciation of Hashem’s Providence and Hand.
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