joyful implementation of our life plan
By: Rabbi Carlos Tapiero,
MWU Deputy - Director General & Director of Education
Kfar Maccabiah, Sunday, September 9, 2012
Succot: the joyful
implementation of our life plan
There is a well known tradition that
connects Yom Kippur and Sukkot recorded by Rabbi Moshe Isserles
Those who are meticulous begin
building the sukkah
immediately after the conclusion of Yom Kippur in order to go from
mitzvah to mitzvah.
Rabbi Isserles, while teaching about
the specific tradition, provides his own explanation of the reason to
start erecting the sukkah immediately after Yom Kippur:
the rapid construction of the
sukkah gives us the opportunity to bond with God on a
from one order to next one (from
the observance of the laws of
Yom Kippur to those of Sukkot),
thereby affirming our status
as God's servants.
As always at the immeasurable sea of Jewish exegesis, we can find other
routes to explain why we must begin with the construction of the sukkah
immediately after Yom Kippur. This route goes from the central themes
that characterize both Festivities:
Yom Kippur is somber reflection, introspection, harsh judgment, need for
change. It is shocked, trembling souls - even anguish and tears. Yom
Kippur, honored as such, is a plaintiff, aware and committed
hard-examination; when we impose a course of improvement in our lives.
It is the pivot of change, the trigger agent to a fuller, more
meaningful life a life more deeply lived. Yom Kippur is a demand
towards ourselves; an action plan for future goals we have set.
Sukkot, on the other hand, is HeChag, the Feast of Joy - vesamachtah
bechagecha, "And you shall rejoice in your Festival",
say our sources. It is celebration, joyous action, construction (with
the sukkah), embellishment (in the sukkah), celebration of natural life
(with Arbaat Haminim, the four species),
hospitality (in the reception of guests in the Sukkah and the
our relationship with nature in its magnitude (the sukkah's ceiling
permeable to light and rain). Sukkot is resolution of hands and arms,
implementing decisions, life - life in action .
From these meanings, then, the tradition of building the sukkah
immediately after the end of Yom Kippur can be understood from two
the intentions collected and developed in Yom Kippur into concrete
actions during Sukkot:
many times we set goals that we eternally procrastinate,
deceiving ourselves and our loved ones. On Yom Kippur we put together a
plan of life... and Sukkot encourages us to accomplish it, to build it
as the sukkah itself.
Build a sustainable
positive future based on the joy of life:
the dense atmosphere of Yom
Kippur was created to reflect, to evaluate, not to perform. Life fater
Yom Kipur and its resolutions, can be held and conducted in the
framework of the joy and the positive work demanded demanded,
required, imposed by the Festivity of Sukkot. The real changes in life
- those which are here to really stay - are the product of the most
vital in us: that sustains our full strength and creative energy.
The construction of the sukkah immediately after Yom Kippur, urges us to
leave that contrite environment of the atoning day to return to the joy
of a better life, sustained precisely in the outcome of Yom Kippur -
which should start to be immediately implemented and constructed (as the
sukkah) in the first minutes driving from one Festivity to the other. We
can not mend the world - ours or that of those around us - in the
concern, in the anguish, in the oppressing demand for introspection. To
achieve that mending, Yom Kipur's significant reflections and
evaluations must turn into happy actions - personal, group, social,
national positive actions. We will aim our energy of life towards a plan
from a more pleasant and desired standpoint which will precisely provide
the means to arrive at the desired objectives.
Sukkot, then, and from this perspective, is closure and
beginning: the closure of
a program of action (to be reopened again and again,
every Yom Kippur),
and the beginning of its implementation. It is the rush after
the pause; arms and bodies to hold souls and spirits.
May God grant that we
celebrate the joy of Sukkot in our action;
a joy to translate goals into achievements, dreams into realities.
May God inspire us to realize
that joy is a constructive force
capable of transforming the world,
beginning with our nearest and dearest, then spreading and multiplying
the joy of all our People.
And May God find us on this Succot
happier and more complete because
richer in achievements,
joyously celebrating the countless
opportunities of our daily lives.
With best wishes,
Chag Succot Sameach!
RABBI CARLOS TAPIERO
Director of Education