SEPTEMBER 18-27, 2013 15-23 TISHREI 5774
"To sit in the shade of sublime faithfulness, in the shade of the Holy One Blessed is He." (Ushpizin prayer - Succot)
The Gemara (Succah 26a) derives from the verse ohnh ,gca uca, ,ufuxc, that a person should dwell in his succah for the seven days of the holiday just as one dwells in his house all year - urus, ihgf uca,. Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum zt"l writes that it goes both ways. A person must always remember to dwell in his house with the same holiness and respectful attitude that he has while living in his succah. Just as he dwells in the shelter of faith for seven days, he must incorporate faith and emunah in his home throughout the year.
We pray on the holiday "lnuka ,fx ubhkg xrp,u" and spread over us the shelter of Your peace. Our Rabbis tell us a parable to illustrate the meaning of this pasuk. A simple villager was once walking in the big city and came across a store with an interesting display. "What are those colorful sticks you have in the window?" asked the villager. The storekeeper replied, "Those are umbrellas. They protect a person from the rain."
The villager was enthralled and immediately purchased one which, he brought back to his village. Then he became the center of attention as he showed off his new umbrella. Suddenly someone called out, "Hey! It's starting to rain. Let's see how your new umbrella works." The simpleton grabbed his colorful stick and dangled it over his arm like he'd seen the city folk do. But to his shock and embarrassment, he was soon soaked to the bone from the drenching rain. His umbrella was worthless. He ran back to the store in the big city and complained that his umbrella did not protect him during the heavy rain. "An umbrella is useless when closed," he was told. "You must open it and stand under it so the rain doesn't hit you."
Throughout the year, we hide within the confines of our homes. We feel safe and secure, without the need for extra protection. But now, after we have done teshubah we say "lnuka ,fx ubhkg xrp,u." We must "open the umbrella" and truly recognize that it is Hashem Who is protecting us in our homes and even out in the street. Happy holiday. Rabbi Reuven Semah
As we finish Yom Kippur and experience a beautiful closeness with Hashem, we now sit in the succah, which is like sitting in Hashem's clouds of glory. The message of the succah can be both sobering and encouraging. To the powerful and wealthy, the succah says, "Do not rely on your fortune; it is transitory. Even your castle is no more secure than a succah. If you are safe, it is because G-d shelters you as He did your ancestors when all they had was a booth over their heads. Let the starry sky you see through your s'chach teach you to build your castle on a foundation of faith under the benevolent gaze of Hashem."
To the poor and downtrodden, the succah says, "Are you more helpless than millions of your ancestors in the wilderness, without food, water or shelter? What sustained them? Who provided for them? Look around at your succah's frail walls and at the stars through its roof. Let it remind you that Israel became a nation living in such 'mansions' and that's where they became a great and G-dly nation."
Let us enjoy the holiday of Succot with the message that we are in Hashem's Hands at all times. By putting our complete faith in Him we will feel secure and tranquil and appreciate everything we have. Especially during these turbulent and trying times, we need to strengthen our faith that Hashem is the One Who can and will protect us, and the succah is the symbol of being in Hashem's Hands. May we merit to dwell in the succah which will be built for the righteous very soon in our days, Amen. Tizku Leshanim Rabot! Rabbi Shmuel Choueka
A quick tip to boost the power of your prayer. Hazal tell us (Masechet Baba Kama Daf 92A) that Hashem loves the tefilot of one Jew for another so much that anyone who prays on behalf of a fellow Jew with similar needs will have his prayer answered first. A special service has now begun to provide people with names of others who find themselves in a similar predicament. You can call with complete anonymity and get the name of someone to pray for and give the name of someone that needs our prayers. The name of the service is Kol Hamitpalel. Categories include: Marriage; Income; Health; To have children etc.
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