“‘Live in temporary shelters for seven days: All native-born Israelites are to live in such shelters . . . ’” — Leviticus 23:42
A note to our readers: This week marks the celebration of Sukkot, one of the most joyous celebrations on the Jewish calendar. Throughout this week, our reflections will be tied to this biblically mandated holiday. As this is a non-working holiday for observant Jews, these devotions were prepared for you in advance.
We are such a capable society. We can cure illnesses never cured before. We can fly, we can travel to outer space, and we can see from one end of the world to the other from the comfort of our own homes. In Israel, we have shown that we can even stop missiles headed our way thanks to the invention of the Iron Dome.
Indeed, we have accomplished so much . . . or have we?
During the holiday of Sukkot, we are required to spend seven days and nights in little flimsy huts with inefficient roofs. We are exposed to the elements, open to everything around us. The truth is, however, all yearlong we are just as vulnerable. Sometimes we forget and think that because we have a solid roof over our heads or four-wheel drive on our car, we are in control. Sukkot comes around once a year to remind us that we aren’t in control of anything.
Trouble can come at any moment, and it is only by the grace of God that we go on. As one illustrator so effectively depicted, Israel’s real Iron Dome is the hand of God, covering and protecting the Holy Land. We may think that we are controlling things, but it’s God who is pulling the strings.
I love this imagery: Imagine that a fly lands on a train and wants to make it move. It pushes with all its might, and the train does start to move. It goes very fast and the fly starts to think that it must be really strong. To the onlooker, it’s ridiculous to think that the fly could ever be pushing a train. Even the largest, strongest, most capable fly cannot push a train!
We are like that fly. Sometimes it looks like we are the ones pushing the train and running the world, but it’s just an illusion. God is the driver, the conductor, and the power that runs our lives.
The celebration of Sukkot serves to remind us that this whole world is one big sukkah. We are all totally dependent on God who covers us with His love. Remember how God loves us infinitely, and He will continue to conduct our lives in the best way possible. We cannot control everything, but the good news is that we don’t have to. Our loving Father in Heaven has got us covered.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President