The Midrash tells us that the holiday of Sukkot with its mitzvah of sukkah is a reward for having completed Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. The teachings of Kabbalah and Chassidut stress how Sukkot is actually an extension of these High Holy Days. 1. On Rosh HaShana, the shofar is blown 100 times, 60 tekiot (long blasts), 20 sh’varim (broken blasts), and 20 truot (staccato) blasts. The gematria (numerical value) of the Hebrew word for sukkah-roof foliage, s’chach, equals 100, and further, the value of each of the letters individually corresponds exactly to the number of each type of blast: samech=60, chaf=20,chaf=20. The blessings invoked through the call of the shofar come to fruition via the s’chach of the sukkah! 2. The seven days between Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur—one for each day of

the week—are spent in introspection, and offer the opportunity for rectifying all the days of the previous year: the Sunday for all the previous Sundays, the Monday for all the previous Mondays, etc. These seven Days of Awe become the seven days of Joy—from which we draw power to enliven and enrich each individual day of the coming year. 3. On Yom Kippur, the climax of the Temple-service used to be when the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies (the innermost chamber of the Temple, which only he could enter, and only on Yom Kippur), and put the special incense on the coals from the altar, making a cloud that filled the room. These clouds of incense correspond to the “clouds of glory” that accompanied us in the desert, which are represented by the s’chach of the sukkah. So through the roof of the sukkah comes also the holiness of Yom Kippur! Thus the holiness of the sukkah is powerfully encompassing and inclusive. It is the vehicle for the internalization (at the time of Waving the Four Species) of all the blessings granted to us on Rosh HaShana and confirmed on Yom Kippur. And since Sukkot is “the Season of our Rejoicing”, this is best accomplished when all our activities in the sukkah are permeated with heart-felt joy.

 

 

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