Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
This morning I planned on writing something about the joy of Sukkot, about the four species and the sukkah, but the family of Noa Lazar who was killed in Shuafat in East Jerusalem several days ago is in mourning, and today Ido Baruch who was killed in Shomron yesterday will be laid to rest. Perhaps we can find some solace and some strength in the following words we recite after eating in the Sukkah.
On the holiday of Sukkot there are special additions to Birkat Hamazon or grace after meals. Among the Sephardim, it is customary to add: "May the Merciful One bring us abundance and purity from the seven supernal and holy guests (ushpizin), may their merits provide us with armor and shield us." In other words, we mention the seven ushpizin, the outstanding figures of the nation -- Avraham, YItzchak, Ya'akov, Moshe, Aharon, Yosef, and David -- and ask that in living by their values we should merit safeguarding and protection. We are not just mentioning their names, but aspiring to follow in their path.
And here is an addition to the Birkat Hamazon that is added by Sephardim and Ashkenzim alike: "May the Merciful One raise up for us the fallen sukkah of David." A house is usually solid and stable, but should it collapse, it is difficult to put it back up again. A sukkah, on the other hand, is somewhat flimsy, but much easier to put back up again each time that it comes down. The small nation of Israel, in comparison to its enemies, is like a sukkah. For thousands of years, we have witnessed the collapse of empires, as evil as they were apparently indestructible, while we ourselves have fallen again and again, but gotten back up each time. And so we have managed to survive and thrive and finally return to our homeland as we hope to soon rebuild David's fallen sukkah, the Holy Temple.
In the memory and in the merit of Noa and Ido. May we continue to rise up each time we fall and to prevail over every challenge that comes our way.