As the Talmud explains, a kosher sukkah provides more shade than sun. Rashi teaches that the sukkah’s shade is meant to be a respite from the heat. Imagine wandering in the desert. The less shade, the more susceptible one is to the outside elements. The beating of a sweltering sun is slightly mitigated with a few branches overhead.
And yet, there is false security within a sukkah. One large gust of wind, a downpour of rain, a terribly hot day, even an earthquake in California…the “roof” can only provide so much relief. The shade becomes less about a literal sense of safety. Instead, we sit around a table challenged to think, “Am I someone that provides relief for others?” When someone sees you, do they feel safe? Comforted? Do you symbolize embrace and a sense of ease? Are you like a sukkah? In which, being with you, everything seems to feel a little bit better.
Sukkot is a time of gratitude, recognizing the people in our lives that serve as our walls, roof, and foundation. Those that hold us up when everything else comes crashing down. Acknowledging those that provide shade when the sun feels awfully hot, and the rain feels particularly cold.
A sukkah is an outside respite from the outside world, reminding us to give thanks for the slivers of shade that protect us even for a moment. Sukkot urges us to not a waste a moment thanking those that embrace us, every single day.
Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom
In partnership with The Jewish Journal, you can also find Rabbi Guzik’s blog post HERE.