Beit Midrash

  • Shabbat and Holidays
  • Sukkot
To dedicate this lesson

Movers and Shakers

The Arba Minim can represent a kind of sword that we carry & march with throughout Sukkot, like a proud, confident IDF soldier


Rabbi Stewart Weiss

The Chag is over – long live the Chag! No sooner does Yom Kippur end then we almost immediately begin eight more days of Sukkot! Why the rush? After all, we exited Egypt in moveable pre-fabs in the month of Nisan; so why not wait a bit after the High Holydays & let the knaidlach settle?

Many reasons are given for having Sukkot in Tishrei. One of them is that the Sukka – small & humble as it is, compared to our expansive homes – represents a kind of "exile." So if G-d forbid we got a negative "report card" on Yom Kippur, let this be our penance!

But I prefer to look at Sukkot as being wholly positive & uplifting. In this context, the Sukka reaffirms our desire to get close to Hashem, spending our "honeymoon" in the little "love-nest" we build right in our backyard.

The Arba Minim can also represent a kind of sword (or M-16 or Galil, if you prefer!) that we carry & march with throughout Sukkot, like a proud, confident IDF soldier. We raise it high, like a banner, signaling our loyalty to Hashem & our membership in the army of the Almighty.

Thus, as soon as Yom Kippur ends, we show Hashem that we want to immediately start fulfilling His mitzvot. And Sukkot is jam-packed with many Mitzvot; the primary one being the Sukka, which is one of only 3 Mitzvot in which we completely envelop ourselves. (Eretz Yisrael & Talit being the other two).

Rabbi Yekutiel Halberstam, the founding Rebbe of the Sanz-Klausenberg dynasty, lost his wife & ten children in the flames of the living hell called Auschwitz. In the fall of 1945, after his liberation, the Rebbe moved to the DP camp Fohrenwald. On Yom Kippur, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower visited the camps to assess the state of the Jewish DP's. He heard the Rebbe speak &, tremendously impressed, he asked what he could do for the Jews in the camp.

The Rebbe said, "The war has ended and Yom Kippur is concluded; now we need to go back to doing Mitzvot. If you could secure Lulav & Etrog for us, that would be wonderful."

Eisenhower ordered that Arba Minim from Italy be brought for the survivors. One great general, the supreme Allied military commander, responding to another "general," this one a spiritual giant, who would later bring his wisdom & influence to Israel.

After the Nazi guns were finally silenced, our Lulav - like the Jewish backbone – remained strong & tall. And long after the Palestinians & their terror guns lay on the rust-heap of history, we will still be shaking our Arba Minim, & Israel will still be the prime "movers & shakers" of history.
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