Thursday, September 23, 2010

Chag Sukkot: Festival of Joy

Chag Sukkot: Festival of Joy

Tishrei 14, 5771/ September 22, 2010


The festival of Sukkot is referred to in our holiday prayers as zeman simchatenu, "the Season of Our Joy," and this of course derives from the scriptural commandment, "And you should rejoice before HaShem your G-d for seven days." (Leviticus 23:40) Indeed, there is an irrepressible joy that fills and overflows the heart of every sukkah dweller, from the first day of the seven day festival to the last. To fulfill the commandment of building a temporary dwelling, and then to immerse our entire physical and spiritual beings in it for seven full nights and days is the closest thing we experience today to being within the courtyards of the Holy Temple itself, and this, no doubt, is a source of the intense joy of the sukkah. It is also a timely reminder that, just as everyone builds his and her own sukkah, and nobody expects it to descend from the heavens, fully accoutred and beckoning us to enter it, we should not deceive ourselves that the Holy Temple itself will one day descend from heaven, ready for us to bless it with our presence. On the contrary, the G-d that has commanded us to build each year a sukkah is the very same G-d who has commanded us to "Build for Me a sanctuary that I may dwell amongst them." (Exodus 25:8)



Temple TalkTune in to this week's Temple Talk and join Rabbi Chaim Richman and Yitzchak Reuven in the annual Temple Talk Sukkot Extravaganza - just what you need to start the joyous festival of Sukkot. What is the secret of Sukkot joy? What were the original "booths" of the Children of Israel in the desert (Lev. 23:43) - real booths, or Divine clouds of glory? Yitzchak Reuven and Rabbi Richman can hardly wait to take up residence in their respective temporary dwellings, to enjoy the rarified atmosphere of basking in the Divine Presence and feeling the enveloping embrace. May the lessons learned from these "temporary dwellings" stay with us all through the coming year!

Living in the House of G-dThis week features the new Bat Melech video teaching with Rabbanit Rena Richman, entitled, "Living in the House of G-d: We emerge from seven weeks of soul searching, spiritual rebirth and reckoning and find ourselves victorious and stronger than ever. What better place for us to live, eat, sleep, breath and imbibe Torah for the next seven days and nights than our own heavenly sukkah made with our own hands out of leaves and branches, fabric and wood. Via our seven day sukkah sojourn we will emerge yet again, ready to march forward into our new year." Click here to view.

Over the Rainbow and into the SukkahToday also features the new Light to the Nations teaching by Rabbi Chaim Richman, entitled, "Living with G-d: Over the Rainbow and into the Sukkah: We all long for that perfect spot where bluebirds sing and all contradictions fade away. It can be attained, we can place ourselves on the other side of the rainbow, even in our own back yards, in the sukkot booths that we are commanded to build. Part cloud of glory and part earthly dwelling, our sukkot create for us a harmonious environment in which to dwell within G-d’s presence, the holy Shechina. Jews and Gentiles alike have a place in the sukkah." Click here to view.

Sukkot in the Holy TempleSukkot in the Holy Temple: As glorious as the festival of Sukkot is today, it is only a shadow of what it will be when the Holy Temple has been rebuilt and the Divine service renewed. To learn how the sublime holiday of Sukkot is celebrated in the Holy Temple, please click here.

The Sukkot Building SpecialThe The Sukkot Building Special: Back by special demand! Last year's sukkah building special has become a cult classic! There is no time better spent than the time we spend in the sukkah, and this remarkable spiritual odyssey begins with the building of the sukkah. Join Rabbi Chaim Richman and Yitzchak Reuven as they build their classic Jerusalem sukkah. Along the way the Rabbi shares his pearls of Torah wisdom. Chock-full of adventure, breathtaking insights, and occasional mishap, you will not want to miss a minute of this timeless documentary. Truly a must-see! Click here.

Chag Sameach Sukkot from Jerusalem!

  Yitzchak Reuven

  The Temple Institute

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