Sukkot 5772

 

Author:

Matt Rosenberg

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This is part of the on-gong series of Divrei Torah being published on the NECHAMA, Jewish Response to Disaster web site and subsequently sent to our e-mail community.

Description:

Traditionally, during the upcoming holiday of Sukkot, one relocates outdoors, living within the sukkah, the temporary dwelling that is the embodiment of the holiday.

Body:

 Nechama and Sukkot 5772

 

Traditionally, during the upcoming holiday of Sukkot, one relocates outdoors, living within the sukkah, the temporary dwelling that is the embodiment of the holiday.  The roof of the sukkah is made of vegetation and should allow the residents of the sukkah to also see some sky.  The laws of the sukkah are discussed in the Mishnah, the oldest collection of the Oral Law, dating back to the second century.  One teaching in the Mishnah informs us that we may abandon our sukkah if the rain would ruin our meal of porridge.

 

As I write this, on the eve of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, the American Red Cross is reporting that 185 days and nights have passed since there has been a night where people were not taking refuge in a disaster shelter.  More than half a year has passed where each night, victims of disaster have needed a temporary shelter over their heads.  This continuous sheltering over the course of so many disasters over the past six months is truly unprecedented.  Tonight, three shelters remain open: a church in Pennsylvania, a city indoor tennis facility in North Dakota, and a church in Washington state. 

 

Most of the time, we have the luxury of returning to our home from our sukkot should incliment weather turn our porridge into mush.  For those who have been evacuated, displaced, flooded out over these past six months of non-stop sheltering in our country, tonight these three remaining facilities are serving as sukkot, as temporary dwellings.  They are temporary dwellings for people who would rather be safe and sound inside their own homes and not living on a cot in a multi-purpose room.

 

The Jewish year of 5771 has been an unprecedented year for disaster in our country.  I hope and pray that the year 5772 is a year of calm and that no records are broken.  Dear God of our ancestors, our planet needs a respite.

 

May your Sukkot holiday be joyous.  Thank you for your support of Nechama in all of its work over the past year.  Hag sameach.

 

Matt Rosenberg is a Rabbinical Student at American Jewish University in California and a Nechama volunteer. He can be reached at rosenbergmatt@gmail.com 

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