Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Succos-Strengthening Our Emunah

Every yom tov is meant to instill deeper levels of emunah into our hearts. 

Succos is a special yom tov that comes after the inspiring days of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. On Rosh Hashana, we remind ourselves once again that Hashem is the King and Ruler of the world. We are mere mortals and everything that happens to us is in His hands.

Anu tzonecha v'ata ro'einu-you are our Shepherd...we depend on you for every little bit of sustenance. Just like the sheep walks after the shepherd, following every step...we follow Hashem too and He takes care of us, nourishes us when we are thirsty, physically and spiritually. Sometimes we see it physically, when we rely on Hashem for things and He gives us exactly what we need and other times we can even see it spiritually-if we look out for it-we will see how He sent us the people or inspiration to help us move forward and grow exactly at a time we needed it most. Or He may put us in a situation where we feel like we must turn to Him and only Him, thereby strengthening our connection with and trust in Him. We don't ask for it...but when we grow from our life and our challenges, we know that there was a higher purpose to whatever happened.

On Yom Kippur, we stand before Hashem and attempt to cleanse ourselves from our spiritual lowliness, admitting to the times we fell, acknowledging that although we are human beings and we stumble daily, we want to be better, we want to be different. We ask Hashem to forgive us for the past. We look inside our hearts and remember things only we know about ourselves...and ask Him to see inside our souls, to see the person we want to be...and to help us get away from the things we wish we would never have done and to help us move forward towards spiritually better people.

Succos is a whole different yom tov. It is a time where we leave our homes, our comfort zones and we put into practice the things we already know in our heads. We leave our homes-why? To show-with actions-that we rely totally and completely on HaKadosh Baruch Hu. That the material things we have do not matter. What matters is not the fancy house, the outer trappings...what matters is what is going on inside our souls. Of course, we still make the mitzvos beautiful, we adorn our little huts, our temporary houses with all sorts of decorations...but we remind ourselves on a deeper level about what really is important in life. 

At the end of our lives, we will not take those things with us, not the chandeliers and not the fancy napkin rings. Not the clothing or the money or the shoes or the jewelry. Yes, we use the things we have to enhance our yom tov, to make nice dishes in honor of the special day, to serve them beautifully so we feel the joy of this holiday. When we use the things we were given to make yom tov more beautiful, that is a mitzvah. But we know that these things are not just for having-they're for elevating. They're for sharing. The most beautiful sukkah is one that is adorned with guests. :-)

And we leave our homes to remind ourselves Who we really rely on for the materialistic things we need, for our parnassah. When we leave our homes, we are in essence saying, Hashem, I am leaving my home because I want to show how I am totally dependent on you. I go out of my comfort zone, I go out of the house that belongs to me, the place I own and I go into Your shelter. I am under Your wings. You are the One who protects me always. You are the One who takes care of me at all times. It is You who provides for me and gives me every single thing I need. I am out in the open, under the clear blue sky, under Your sky. 

I know that everything comes from you. I know that everything I have comes from Your giant, unlimited hand. And I know that if there is anything I ever need, I can turn to you and ask for it. You are the Source of all that I have, all the bounty I have been blessed with and you are the only One who can...and will...give me everything I will ever need.

May you be able to enter the sukkah with these thoughts in mind and continue to strengthen the emunah you have in Hashem. May the things you know in your head but don't yet feel in your heart travel through that long passageway...like a great rav once said-the greatest distance to be traveled in this world is from the head to the heart. May you be able to use this yom tov to connect to Hashem on an even deeper level, internalizing the things you already know...and may it be a truly Chag Sameach for all of you!

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