Parshot Festivals

Home is Hashem on Sukkot

  • ParshaRabbiSamThurgood
The most difficult question I have been asked about Judaism is, “Which is your favourite festival?” Ooh, I don’t know! I love the traditions of Pesach: sitting with family and community members and speaking about Hashem’s love for us and kindness in taking us out of Egypt, tasting matza, and singing Dayeinu.
by Rabbi Sam Thurgood, Beit Midrash Morasha @ Arthur's Road | Sep 20, 2018

But no, I love Shavuot more: staying up late into the night studying Torah, the warmth of the 02:00 coffee complementing the excitement of learning and teaching something new.

Actually, it has to be Purim: seeing how much joy the children get from dressing up and taking my daughter around with me to deliver mishloach manot (gifts of food and drink), and reading the wonderful story of the Megillah.

What about Yom Kippur? Ah, the day of atonement, when Hashem in his compassion forgives me for all that I have done wrong, and I can start the year with a clean slate, proud of the person I have just become.

No, actually, it’s Sukkot. After the pressure and intensity of the high holy days, Sukkot presents us with a chance to relax in joy. Rabbi David Aaron points out that the mitzvot of the day evoke a childlike joy in nature. We live in treehouses, we shake plants, we sing Hallel each day. And so, that’s my final answer (until the next chag!). I love Sukkot the most.

On Sukkot, I bask in Hashem’s protection, remembering that the walls that we put up around our homes and over our roofs are simply an illusion. Remembering that if we have a warm and loving home, we have everything, no matter if it’s a palace or a modest room. If we have a warm and loving home that we share with the almighty, then even a sukkah is enough for us.

On Sukkot mornings, I take out the lulav and etrog and shout with joy, “Hodu Lashem Ki Tov!” (Give thanks to Hashem), for he is good. On Sukkot afternoons, I take a sleeping bag into my sukkah and curl up with a good book and a mug of hot chocolate, often joined by my six-year-old daughter who’ll probably bring her own book, but drink my hot chocolate.

On Sukkot, there is enough time for everything. It’s eight full days, and there’s no rush. I experience shul in a different way, since although the service is long, the tone is light, and the worshippers are relaxed. Sukkot is the time of our rejoicing, and in Judaism, we rejoice most of all by sharing our joy with others, our family, community, and those in need. Sukkot is just around the corner, and I can’t wait. Chag Sameach!


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