The nature of Nature

Sukkot, the time of our rejoicing, the harvest festival, the feast of booths.... All names for the same holiday. A seven day period celebrating the harvest, and the relationship to G-d in the wilderness, and creation - nature. This seems to cover a wide range and a lot of territory....

Maybe it helps to remember that this is THE Universal holiday. The holiday for ALL peoples. When we read in the Torah about the Temple times, what we learn is that a sacrifice was offered to G-d on behalf of every single people/state/nation/group. That is why there are a total of seventy sacrifices described - one for each people that the Torah believed existed. No exclusions mentioned....

Anyone who wanted could come and offer their sacrifice in the Temple - it just had to meet the requirements to be a suitable type. No one had to say they were a Hebrew, or claim to be anything at all. They simply brought their offering to G-d. No checking at the door to make sure you were 'one of us', or that you believed 'correctly'. That was your business, and G-d's. I like this - it makes me positively recall that all humanity are of one kind. What we see as our differences are just how we do things, not what we are or where we come from....

The sense of being close to nature here is very physical. We sit in a hut, or booth, the Sukkah. The roof is made from growing plants. It is incomplete and not water tight. We are exposed to the weather, to the wind, to the air. We do not control our environment, we are not in charge! The walls and roof of the Sukkah are only partial barriers to the wind, rain, and sun. A physical metaphor for life.....

Happy Sukkot!

Rabbi Joe Blair

Oct 11 2006