Torah Study


By Rabbi Michael Skobac

If the holiday of Sukkot relives the time when the Almighty brought the people of Israel out of Egypt in booths - the famous question is why we celebrate it in the fall rather than right after Passover when it actually happened.

Many answers to this question have been suggested. I'd like to share the approach of the Gerrer Rebbe, the Chidushei HaRim. He points out that the Torah requires that we not only remember that God brought us out in booths, but that we have to "know" this (Leviticus 23:43). Knowing in the Torah is the word for connection (see Genesis 4:1). This goes beyond having information to a deep identification and absorption of ideas.

The Gerrer Rebbe says that it is only after Yom Kippur, when we have been totally cleansed of our sins that we are able to think and know things with clarity. During the rest of the year, this capacity is diminished by the sins that we unfortunately commit. As our sages teach, "a person would never sin unless overcome by a spirit of folly.''

Therefore, right after the High Holidays and Yom Kippur, a time when our consciousness has achieved a level of cleansing and purification are we able to aborb spiritual ideas with depth. Therefore, it is precisely at this time when the Torah commands us to celebrate the Feast of Sukkot!!