Sukkot, which begins tonight, teaches us some very important lessons about life. And no matter how we observe the holiday, the lessons should still be learned and taken seriously.
During the days of Sukkot, Jews are supposed to live in a sukkah — an imperfect dwelling that can’t withstand even a mild downpour.
The reason we are told to build a temporary abode, according to the rabbis, is to remind us that we are living in the shadow of death and that life is as fragile as this temporary abode.
Yet we are instructed to enjoy our week in the sukkah. We are supposed to feast all week — which may ultimately not be very good to our waistlines — and enjoy the time with our families and friends in the semi-outdoor environment.
Again, the rabbis tells us that a message of Sukkot is that we should learn to enjoy every moment of our lives, which, like the sukkah, has short duration.
Reading about the meaning of Sukkot is really not enough. You need to enter the fruit-laden walls of a sukkah and smell its harvest to truly understand the lessons of this holiday.
Anyone who regularly visits a sukkah every year will attest that as you walk into the sukkah, the aroma awakens you to the pleasures of life. There is the sweet smell of the fruit mixed with the tingle of the oncoming fall breeze.
Don’t let Sukkot pass you by without a visit to a sukkah. Even in the Bay Area, it’s easy to find one. Every synagogue and JCC has a sukkah, as do our Jewish day schools.
May you enjoy all the pleasures of life and the sweet, sweet smell of a beautiful Sukkot.