- Yehuda Pevzner
Festival of Joy
Moshe built a sukkah on the balcony of his apartment. Right before Sukkot, the landlord noticed it and demanded that it be removed immediately, claiming it violated the terms of his lease. Moshe refused, claiming on the basis of it being a religious observance that he had the right to build the sukkah there.
The landlord disagreed and immediately took the case to court.
In court, the landlord argued that the sukkah was unsightly, against the terms of the lease, and was a fire hazard. Moshe argued for his religious rights. The judge, who happened to be Jewish, listened patiently and then offered his verdict.
“I agree with the landlord in this case, and I therefore rule that you have eight days to take down your hut.”
Commencing Sunday night, following the Days of Awe of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, we celebrate Sukkot. Sukkot, the “Holiday of our Rejoicing,” commemorates the clouds of glory which accompanied and surrounded the Jews during their forty years of wandering in the desert.
For 8 days, we enhance our awareness of G-d's all-embracing love and protection, as we felt then, by spending time in the outdoor Sukkah.
Eating festive meals and spending time in the outdoor Sukkah is a delightful and unique religious experience. The Sukkah is the only Mitzvah in which we are completely surrounded, from head to toe, by the Mitzvah itself -- enveloped, as it were, in the divine presence.
Another special mitzvah of Sukkot is the shaking together of the "Four Species" -- the etrog (citron), lulav (palm branch), three hadassim (myrtle branches), and two arovot (willow branches). Each day of Sukkot (except the Sabbath), we shake the "four kinds" during the daytime.
Each of the four kinds represents a different type of Jew. The fact that the mitzvah requires all four kinds symbolizes our oneness as a people: we all need one another. And the four species are waved in all four directions, and up and down, signifying that G-d is everywhere.
Shabbat candle lighting time: 6:10 PM.
Sukkot times: Sunday, 6:07 PM. Monday, after 7:04 PM from a preexisting flame.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach!
P.S. We will have two Sukkot available in NYC. One at Washington Square Park, daily from Monday through Sunday, and one at the Empire State Building on Monday and Tuesday. Hope you come by!