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Join the Sukkot revolution

צילום: פלאש90

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

A mother from New York once told me that when she came to Israel with her children and they visited the Machane Yehuda market in Jerusalem, they saw a watermelon and asked what it was. They were used to getting it already cut up in pieces, without the rind, because that's how it was sold where they lived. It is possible to foresee that this will soon be the case here as well. The world becomes more convenient, more technological, more hygienic, more "already peeled" every day.

In this context, the celebration of Sukkot becomes a revolutionary act. To observe this holiday, we must keep the mitzvot of entering the sukkah and grasping the four species in our hands. We cannot perform these mitzvot through an app on our cell phones, but must be active participants. The fragrance of the etrog and the hadas cannot be experienced remotely on Zoom. We cannot virtually check to see if the light streaming through the s'chach results in more sun than shade below. In this regard, our Sukkot experience is highly subversive. After all, it provides many of us with our only encounter each year with the grass, the sun, the moon, and the ants.

One of the famous questions Rebbe Nachman from Breslov would ask his chasidim when they were preoccupied with business affairs was the following: "Have you looked up at heaven today?" Our answer on Sukkot is yes. The festival of Sukkot is one week out of the year in which we have no choice. We must stop looking down at a screen and look up instead -- at the branches, the leafy green, and the heavens peeking through.


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