Torah Tidbits


We’re all in the same Sukkah…
September 19, 2013 – 15 Tishrei 5774

We’re all in the same Sukkah…

Not in the negative sense of the phrase (we’re all in the same boat), but in the most positive sense of the phrase – we are all in the same Sukkah! Although we are all temporary sojourners in this world, we are also all part of the world that God created and that God watches over….

As we sit in our Sukkot, opening our hearts to the heavens, sharing good food and welcoming guests into our lives, we are “as one” with all the Jewish people who are sharing the ritual of Sukkot, and we are “as one” with God in whose hands we place our lives each and every day.

The Torah portion, V’zot HaBeracha [This is the blessing…], which will be read in its entirety on Simchat Torah, includes a blessing for the two tribes of Zebulun and Yissachar. “”Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out, and, Issachar, in your tents” (Deuteronomy 33:18). Tradition has it that the tribe of Zebulun were seafarers who traveled the seas, following the trade routes, and living an adventurous but often risky life. The tribe of Issachar were more scholarly and learned in Torah. Yet, the blessing of rejoicing applies to both! Why is that? Despite their distinct life styles, both tribes understood that each of them was essential to the Jewish people; each of them cared about the other. It is the mutual respect and caring that brings not only blessing, but joy, to our lives.

As we watch the sad events in Syria, we are cognizant of how easily “tribes” can be at war with one another – devastating their societies, devaluing life, and defeating the cause of peace, of mercy, and of human dignity.

In stark contrast, we see how, in our country, when natural disasters, such as the floods in Colorado, strike an area – people of all races and creeds come together to support one another, to save lives, and to help people re-build their lives. Indeed, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) has opened its Disaster Relief Fund. If you can, please direct your gift here at the pull-down menu to the Disaster Relief Fund. USCJ reports, ” The damage [in Boulder, Colorado] has been great, and the Jewish community was not spared from the devastation.” This is the message of Zebulun and Issachar. Different as they were, they contributed blessing to this world because of their ability to respect one another and to be there to support one another using their diverse God-given talents and abilities.

As we sit in our Sukkot, we taste a bit of that “unity in diversity” – that special blessing that Zebulun and Issachar exemplified in their lives. We are “as one” with one another, as well as with God, Creator of heaven and earth.

May our ability to sense that “we are all in the same Sukkah”, enable us to rejoice throughout the upcoming days of Sukkot, as did Zebulun and Issachar, in days of old.
Wishing you and all your loved ones a Chag Sameach – a Joyous Sukkot holiday to all!

Rabbi Gilah Dror