Plug into the joy and spiritual depth of this incredible Jewish holiday.
The holiday of Sukkot brings us to a place of joy, celebrating our newfound connection to the spiritual energy we’ve plugged into during the High Holidays.
Here are 5 life lessons to reflect upon as we sit within the wall of our sukkah.
1. Look Up
When sitting in the sukkah one must be able to see the sky through the covering of the roof made out of leaves. It’s as if a mystical voice is calling out to us and whispering, “Look up.” Know that you will go through moments in life that will be terrifying. Your forefathers left Egypt and came into the desert wilderness not knowing how they would survive. No food. No water. The sun was scorching hot. There were snakes and scorpions. But God enveloped His children with Clouds of Glory that served as protection that continues to serve as a lesson until today.
The sukkah is our reminder that faith and trust in God is the greatest weapon to combat fear. These past 18 months we’ve realized how much is out of our control. The world is spinning. It may feel difficult to hold on. Lift your eyes and see the Source of life. Don’t crumble. The sukkah is here for every single one of us to experience. Bask within the shelter of faith.
2. We Don’t Need All the Stuff
The sukkah is a temporary dwelling. We leave our homes and for 7 days we live in the sukkah. All the comforts of home are inside. Somehow we are content, even tasting joy, as we join those we love in celebration. What happened to all the stuff we thought we need to be happy?
Sukkot gives us a spiritual time out to think about what really matters.
The 7 days represent the seven decades of a person’s life. What really counts in the end? Life is temporary. No one wishes that they had amassed more ‘stuff’. Rather we wish we would’ve spent more time with those we cherish. We regret moments lost, words not said, and opportunities for love that never return.
Sukkot liberates us. We are given time to take a spiritual time out and think about what really matters.
3. We Come from Greatness
Each night we are given a beautiful prayer to say as we invite a holy guest into our sukkah. All together there are 7 ushpizin, guests, who grace our sukkah with their spiritual presence: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Josef, Moses, Aaron and David.
These 7 transformed a morally desolate world into a place of kindness, compassion and awareness of God.
Each of us are given an ability to draw upon the blessings of those who came before us. Their every struggle and challenge become a stepping stone for our personal life journey.
When we realize the greatness we come from, we are given the strength to pick ourselves up and keep walking. We, too, can bring light into a world of darkness. We must only invite greatness into our lives.
4. Discover the Gift of Humility
A sukkah taller than 20 amos (around three stories) cannot be used. The lesson is deep. If there is one character trait that pushes Godliness out of our lives, it is arrogance. When you are so full of yourself, there is no space for anyone else, even God.
If you want your life to be filled with love and meaning, discover the gift of humility. Know how to put others first. Don’t live a ‘selfie life’, where the lens is only turned on yourself. Feel the pain of another. Each day ask yourself: how is this world better because I exist? Make space for others. Be a giver.
When my child was once crying, my 6-foot 2 father bent down to hear him. He picked my little boy up, cuddled him on his shoulders and said, “No one should ever be too high to hear the cries of a child.”
We are all that child. And none of us can ever feel too high to hear the cries of another.
5. Feel God’s Hug
A sukkah requires at least two complete walls plus a third wall that can even be one handbreadth.
The image is that of a hug. The sukkah is God’s embrace of us. Each and every one of us is precious. When you give someone a hug, you wrap your hands around their back and pull them close. Their face is not seen. So too, we are being embraced. It does not matter what we think we look like, spiritually, or mistakes we made that we believe may create obstacles as we try to plug into our souls.
Enter the sukkah and know that you are loved. Every person who wants to come close is hugged. Unconditionally.
The sukkah is speaking to us. We just need to open our hearts to hear its whisper.