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Sunday, September 30

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 in 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. Indeed, we 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 in the month of Tishrei.

Have a Chag Samei'ach.

Eliezer Bulka

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The earliest sources for identifying L'Dovid w Elul etc is Vayikra Rabba 21:4 : rabbanan patrin kra brish hashana vyom kippurim, ori brosh hashana , vyish'i byom kippurim. Also -found in medrash shochar tov on tehillim.
It is only the sefer Madeh Efraim (late 18 century) in ketzei hamadeh 581:13 who notes that while there is no ref to sukkot in the paragraph; however he found in teh "sifrei mussar: and also pesikta rabbati to say L'Dovid thru Hoshana Rabba and they were "somech" on pasuk - ki yitzpineni bsuko....
so it appears that the original holiday connection was to RH and YK, and the term suko is as you mentioned it - a place of protection
you might also want to note taht the Baal Haturim in Devarim 30:6 after note that the firist letter sof rt levavcha ve'et levav speels out Elul, adds taht the word Lulei in L'Dovid (lulei haamanti...) is rashei tevot "elul' ; anotehr early reference to associating L'Dovid w Elul.

9/30/2012 2:06 PM  

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