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Friday, October 2

The Weekly Shtikle - Sukkos

As we lead into the holy month of Tishrei with the month of Elul, we recite the chapter from Tehillim (27), "L'Dovid," twice daily. We continue this practice throughout Sukkos. There are various explanations given for this practice. One of the correlations between this chapter of Tehillim and the days of Elul and Tishrei is the reference to a sukkah in verse 5: "For in the day of trouble He will hide me in his sukkah: In the covert of his tent will He hide me; He will lift me up upon a rock." Surely, there is something deeper than the mere mention of a sukkah.


This pasuk seems to refer to two distinct types of protection. ("Yitzpeneini b'sukoh" and "yastireini b'seiser ahalo" would seem, on the surface, to refer to the same form of protection.) If, in the face of danger, one is lifted up upon a rock, he is removed from the scene of the danger. He may appear exposed, but he is out of reach and out of harm's way. Being protected by an enclosure, however, is not the same. One is still technically in the line of fire. But he is protected from attack and is sheltered by the walls of the fortress.


The holidays of Tishrei reflect these two forms of protection. From Rosh HaShanah to Yom Kippur, we are raised to a higher level. Through the intense tefillah and teshuvah of the aseres yemei teshuvah, we are elevated to new heights. We are no longer in the realm of mere mortals. We are promoted to the level of angels. HaShem, so to speak, protects us from the rest of the world by bringing us to another world.


Unfortunately, this experience cannot last forever. We must grow from it and take with us what we can. As we come back to our this-worldly existence, we are given seven days of the second level of protection. Sukkos symbolizes our slow return to real life. We are once again in the midst of the world around us. We do bring 70 sacrifices over Sukkos symbolizing the 70 nations. But only we are given the sukkah in which to dwell and be sheltered from outside forces. Eventually, we have to leave the shelter of the sukkah and return to our homes. Indeed, this pasuk speaks significantly of our special experiences and spiritual journey as we navigate the month of Tishrei.


Of course, the overlying general theme of these ideas is our absolute reliance on Divine guidance in all aspects of life. We do our part but it is ultimately HaShem who elevates and protects us. This is very much a dominant theme in the events of this past half year as well. As a friend of mine noted in conversation before Rosh Hashanah, it is not fathomable that any rational individual could enter this coming year without a heightened recognition and appreciation of how HaShem runs the world. A microscopic virus has devastated every single corner of the earth. Even the leader of the free world is unable to escape its grasp. Certainly, as we are faced with a resurgence of the virus, it should serve to strengthen our awareness HaShem's control as we hope and pray for an end to this terrible plague and we beseech HaShem, "ufros aleinu sukas shelomecha."


Have a good Shabbos and good Yom Tov and stay healthy and safe!

Eliezer Bulka


Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:

Dikdukian: Sukas Dovid Hanofeles

Al Pi Cheshbon: Number of bakashos in Ya'aleh veYavo

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