Live by the Grace of God

Yael Eckstein  |  October 23, 2020

Yael prepares for Sukkot

For in the day of trouble
    he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
    and set me high upon a rock
. — Psalm 27:5

This month, I will share with you weekly devotions based on my book, Generation to Generation: Passing on the Legacy of Faith to Our Children, about Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, and the lessons of faith found in this annual joyous observance.

Sukkot is definitely one of the most joyful weeks of the year in our family. When the holiday begins, we move into our sukkah, our makeshift hut, for the entire week. There we eat, entertain family and friends, play music, sing, and enjoy each other’s company.

At night, we drag out mattresses and lay out sleeping bags so that we can all sleep under the stars. We know it might rain, and sometimes it does. We know a cat may sneak in, and sometimes one does. We know we may get mosquito bites and that there is no alarm system attached to the sukkah door. Nevertheless, we know that God is watching down on us and we feel secure.

According to Jewish tradition, Sukkot is deliberately celebrated in autumn so that we can experience the grace of God and His providence while exposed to the elements just as the ancient Israelites experienced His shelter and protection while exposed to the dangers of the desert. Autumn ushers in the time when most people move from outdoors to inside. The weather gets cooler, and in Israel, the rainy season begins. However, instead of taking shelter inside our homes, we move outside into rickety huts featuring intentionally sparse ceilings.

On Sukkot, we choose vulnerability and we relish the opportunity to live by the grace of God.

In truth, we always live by the grace of God. The difference is that all year long we create the illusion that we are in control of our destiny. We live in our big strong homes with door locks and alarms. Many of us enjoy climate-controlled houses that provide us with comfort in the heat and the cold, and immunity from the weather. However, once we step into the sukkah, we realize that we are not in control — and never have been.

The sukkah reminds us that our only true source of security is God. Appropriately, the sukkah is also known as “a shelter of faith” because it teaches us to trust in God alone and live by His grace.

Your turn:

Think of the things that help you feel safe — like a roof over your head or an alarm on your door — and recognize that they are gifts from God, our true source of security.