I hope that you will join us this Sunday evening, September 27th for our Sukkot celebration. (Dinner will be at 6pm and a short service will be at 7pm). Then on Friday, October 2nd, we will hold our Friday Night Live service in the Sukkah from 7:30pm-8:15pm.
In ancient Israel, Sukkot was a joyous time when people from throughout the country would make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to celebrate the end of the harvest season. But most of all, they would come to Jerusalem and to the Temple to express gratitude for the blessings of their lives.
In an early rabbinic commentary, our sages tell us that when Job was in the midst of his suffering, and when Job complained to God about all the horrible things that were happening to him, that “God showed Job a Sukkah made of only three walls.” That was God’s response to Job; the frail and modest outdoor but which we erect as the primary symbol of this festival.
What was God trying to teach Job through this strange symbol? What would a three-walled Sukkah say to a man in the depths of despair and anguish?
One message may be that the three-walled Sukkah is God’s way of reminding Job that every person’s Sukkah has one wall missing. Sure, everyone would like to have a four-walled Sukkah— a happy marriage, gifted children, a successful career, good health and a long life. In actual life, however no one has a four-walled Sukkah. Sorrow, failure, loss of health, disappointment -in varying degrees…these are our common human lot. Three-walled Sukkahs are the rule not the exception.
So, God was saying to Job, stop thinking only of the pains you suffer, you also have pleasures to enjoy. Stop counting and recounting your losses, and begin counting your blessings. Sure you have lost a wall of your Sukkah but there are three walls remaining. Make the most of those three walls.
So in this New Year, may we rejoice in our “three walls” and we give thanks for the countless blessings of our lives.
Rabbi David Greenberg