Chronicles from Home

Part  6


October 22, 2003

I always liked Sukkot! Everything about it!  The meaning of the Sukkah, the symbolism of the Lulav and Etrog, the meals, the guests.  Even the cooking seemed more joyful.  I thought I had it all.
And I was wrong.   
Being in Israel for the first time during Sukkot made me realize what I have been missing all these years.
The Sukkah symbolizes our faith in HaShem and the recognition of the fact that He sustains and protects us everywhere, always.  But in Pico-Robertson, in the back of my head, I sometimes had the feeling that if I needed anything I could always run to my kitchen, or my closet or my bank account and get it.  I understand now that being under our Sukkah was more a symbol for me than a reality.
Here, Sukkot was different.  The whole country was a Sukkah, a physical one and a spiritual one.
As we drove north to south, west to east, up and down hills, we found Sukkahs everywhere.  We spotted them on balconies, outside of fancy restaurants or humble coffee shops and in many public places.  We went to National parks, showing the beauty of our new country to our children and there they were, Sukkahs in the middle of rocks, pine trees and waterfalls!   
It was almost surreal seeing people streaming out on the roads during Chol Hamoed, filling up every Sukkah on the sidewalks of Yerushalayim, enjoying their meals, enjoying their friends, enjoying their lives.  Everywhere we saw smiling faces and heard the laughter of the children. Even the soldiers in Hevron tried to smile, despite their tension and their heavy protective clothing.  (These heroes deserve a separate Chronicle of their own. Later. When my emotions recede.)

The entire population seemed relaxed, forgetting for a brief moment their doubts and their anxiety. Indeed, we all put our fate in HaShems Hands.  Although the news coming out from the radios was still alarming, still depressing, Jews were packing sandwiches to picnic at Ein Gedi!
We built our Sukkah in the midst of the wilderness, unwilling for a short week to think of the beasts around us who are ready to die to destroy us.
We sang and laughed in the midst of the hostile world, choosing to ignore for a few days the unfairness of the media and the shameful United Nations.
We were with friends in the midst of a desert, warming each other against the coldness of a world indifferent to our suffering.
Sukkot is over, but its power remains.  And I am now totally convinced that we Jews are crazycrazy about our G-d and His Holy Torah.

The entire country was resting in HaShems Palm.  And it was the sweetest, dearest and most comforting Sukkot ever!
Sara Brownstein

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