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  ISRAEL    
 
 
  SUKKOT  
 
MACCABI WORLD UNION, DESCRIPTION & IDEOLOGY, BY RABBI CARLOS A. TAPIERO Succot
By: Rabbi Carlos A. Tapiero, Carlos@maccabiworld.org
Deputy Director-General
Maccabi World Union, www.maccabiworld.org

RABBI CARLOS TAPIERO, MWU DEPUTY - DIRECTOR GENERAL & DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION

 

 

 

Kfar Maccabiah, September 2015
Dear friends,
ועלו מדי שנה ושנה להשתחוות למלך ה' צבאות
ולחוג את חג הסוכות
"[All the Nations] will go up [to Jerusalem] year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Succot".[1]
 
These are the words of the prophet Zechariah inviting the nations of the world to share the joy of celebrating completion the summer harvest cycle in Eretz Yisrael: the celebration of Succot. In Zechariah's messianic vision, all Peoples and all Faiths will meet in Jerusalem to bring the blessings of rain and bounteous fertility upon their lands. Not only would the Jewish People congregate together in celebration of Succot, HeChag - The celebration, as it is also called, but all humankind will be united in the joy of affirming God's sovereignty over the world.   
 
This messianic character of Succot - praying for the unity of all nations - had one specific physical expression: during the 7 days of festivity, 70 oxen were sacrificed to request the wellbeing and the happiness of the 70 nations of the world. Without renouncing the united national character of this pilgrimage of all the Jewish People to Jerusalem, the main emphasis is that God governs the world, and that He made all of us - the Nations of the World - brothers and sisters under His transcendent Kingdom.
 
Why was Succot chosen to bear the weight of this universal character, the message of the unity of humankind in Jerusalem?  The first reason is perhaps the extraordinary festive spirit of this celebration. After finishing the last harvest -the reason for another of the names of Succot, Chag ha'Asif - people met in an unusually spirit of joy, having concluded the hard and urgent work of the year. If we add to that the hymns that were sung, Simchat Beit HaSho'evah - the ceremony praying for rain, with torches lit in the Beit Hamikdash that illuminated the whole city of Jerusalem, music played, songs and dances - all that explains the immense joy of Succot.  Indeed, the joy was so great that every 7 years the king himself taught the Torah in public (the Hakel). There could be no better occasion to reach the hearts of humankind and to impart the message of union and brotherhood than such a festivity sharing joy, happiness and the sense of accomplishment.
 
When we want to transmit something important to someone, we invite him or her to our house, dress our table in the finest tablecloth and create a festive atmosphere predisposing our guest to dialogue and communication. In order to summon all men and women to unity and the recognition of God's kingdom, what could be better than Succot, when so many reasons converged to produce happiness. Sharing our joy, we generate joy; we induce others to goodness and mutual cooperation.
 
In our time, can we transmit something of the messianic yearning of Succot?  What is that we must do to maintain this message of wellbeing for all the Peoples of the Earth?    
 
The answer is most likely in the concept of the joy illuminated by the lit torches of Succot, that contagious joy uniting all individuals celebrating it. During Succot we all want to be happy, because we understand that others' joy increases our own, that the well-being of our fellows increases our own satisfaction. A world where each person is made happy through the happiness of others is a world that exiles envy and intrigue, where man measures his achievements according to the efforts he invested, not by comparison with the failures of others. Today, the messianic spirit remains in Succot, and thus in our own lives, when we wish for humankind the same joy which we  ourselves  enjoy  in Succot, even without making neither korbanot (sacrifices) nor Simchat Beit Hashoevah.    
 
Succot teaches us that others' growth and improvement, increase the progress and joy of the world and consequently, our own development and joy.  It impels us to create a society raised under the welcoming shelter of the Succah, which speaks to us of peace and unity between human beings, so that God in His infinite mercy fulfills the vision of the prophets, and our prayer during each Shabbat and each Festivity: "Ufros aleinu sucat shlomecha" - "May God covers us with the Succah of Peace".
May God bring to all of you in this Succot lots of happiness, joy and hope.
 
 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!
Chazak Ve'Ematz!
RABBI CARLOS TAPIERO
Deputy Director-General &
Director of Education
carlos@maccabiworld.org

[1]Zechariah 14, 16.

 


 
   
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