We Must Make the Effort
Yael Eckstein | October 11, 2022
Live in temporary shelters for seven days: All native-born Israelites are to live in such shelters so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in temporary shelters when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the LORD your God. — Leviticus 23:42-43
Throughout this week, my family and I will join Jews around the world in celebrating Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles. Please enjoy these devotions, which were prepared for you in advance, about this joyous holiday that immediately follows the High Holy Days.
When I was growing up, our sukkah, the temporary hut that Jews are commanded to dwell in during the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), was made of wood, and I remember my sisters and I watching in awe as my father single-handedly constructed it.
This was no easy feat. First, my father would lug the wooden panels from our shed to our patio, along with the wooden beams that would hold the structure together. Then he would carefully line up the pieces according to the numbers he had assigned them the very first time he built our sukkah, so that everything was in place and ready to be assembled.
The first two pieces were always the most difficult. My father would follow his plan carefully and join two boards in order to form a corner, which once bolted together, could stand on its own as long as there were no strong winds that day! My father worked as quickly as he could to stabilize the structure while my sisters and I helped by handing him the next screw or getting him a glass of water.
We Make the Effort
The building of this temporary shelter is something that the Jewish people have been doing since the time of Moses. We find this command in Leviticus: “Live in temporary shelters for seven days: All native-born Israelites are to live in such shelters so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in temporary shelters when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.”
On Sukkot, we live in a temporary hut, a sukkah, for an entire week to remember how God cared for and protected our ancestors in the desert during those forty years. When God took the Israelites out of Egypt, He didn’t just leave them to fend for themselves. He provided for all their needs on a daily basis as they journeyed to the Promised Land.
On Sukkot, we are reminded that God will also provide for us and that we can trust Him in all circumstances — be they times of deprivation and harshness, or of abundance and joy.
There are always dangers and unforeseen circumstances that threaten our temporary existence on this earth. God only asks of us that, like my father, we make the effort to build the sukkah, the dwelling for our families. Then He will step in and, like He did for the children of Israel, provide and protect us on our journey.
Are you sometimes fearful of the precariousness of life? Remember that all God asks of us is to make the effort. Then He will step in.