May 2, 2017

Insights into the succah.

People are hopeless when it comes to DIY, think Succot; scores of householders attempting to build pretty homemade extensions. Of course, not possessing all the necessary hardware for the job - their toolkit consisting of one knife of dubious origins and a ratchet screwdriver that only turns one way - visiting the nearest DIY store is a must. They will enter a warehouse the size of California, filled with a bewildering array of random items with names such as Nibben rings, Narndle bolts, Crudginns and Metric grozzles, all packed in special plastic packs which cannot be opened without explosives. Ultimately they will spend more there than it would have cost to build a permanent extension (and I speak from bitter experience) but at the end of it all they'll have their own homemade Succah. True the roof leaks in the corner and the wind blows in where the wooden boards were sawed too enthusiastically.. but it's home - at least for the next week.
But when you think about it, isn't it a little odd? The Succah is the symbol of Divine protection, so why such a fragile, rickety building; three or four walls with some sticks or branches on top? Why not symbolise Divine protection by building a miniature fortress with stone walls? Besides being a more impressive reminder, would that not be a true expression of our gratitude for the Divine protection that guides our lives?
The theme of Succot more than any other festival, is happiness. The Torah teaches us that to attain true happiness and appreciate the blessing of the luxuries, we must first learn to appreciate the blessing of basic necessities. (A gift for Yomtov p. 141)
Today, with all sorts of electronic gadgets to entertain us, one would expect that our joys would be much greater than those of our grandparents, but it is not so. We can't enjoy the finer things when our senses are overwhelmed by the variety of toys on offer.
An American fighter pilot was once lost in the Pacific Ocean, stranded on a life raft for 26 days. When he was rescued, he was asked if he had learned anything from his ordeal. He replied: "I learned that if you have enough to eat, and all the fresh water you need to drink, then you should never, ever worry about anything".
So if you're sitting in a Succah wondering what it's all's about appreciating life and enjoying life for what it is.

TAGS for this article: Succah | Succot | Diy | Happiness