Friday, October 17, 2008

Don't Kick the Sukka on the Way Out

I concluded my previous post with the admonition: Just don't kick the sukka on the way out!

Did everybody understand what that meant?

Nobody will understand it unless they are familiar with the Gemara in Avoda Zarah (2a-3b) that the post was based on. The Gemara (A.Z. 3a) concludes the prophetic account that the wayard nations who are "fools of the world" will beg G-d to give them the opportunity to fulfill the Torah anew. G-d will respond: "Idiots of the world! Those who prepared on Friday will have what to eat on Shabbos. Those who do not prepare on Friday, of what shall they eat? (Reference: Grasshopper and the Ants). Yet, even so, I have a very easy mitzvah for you to perform and it is called Sukka. Go and do it."

Immediately everybody will take and go to his roof and build a sukka. Whereupon G-d will intensify the sun as in the height of summer and each one will kick down his sukka and leave.

The Gemara asks: why is this to be held against them? The Halacha is that if one is in distress he may leave the sukka?!

The Gemara responds: It is permissible to exit the sukka - but do they have to kick it on the way out?

And G-d will laugh at the nations!

I have always been curious as to why of all 248 positive commandments HKBH chose sukka as the trial-by-ordeal to incriminate or exonerate the nations?
Also, what kind of sinister premeditated trick is this to get everyone into the sukka and then turn up the heat? Didn't G-d tell them that it is a very simple mitzva? (Note- The Gemara touches upon this question). Even the Gemara concedes that they are not at fault for exiting the sukka - only for kicking it down. But wasn't it supposed to be an easy-to-do mitzvah?

G-d is teaching the nations - and us - a very valuable lesson.

All of the nations have depended on their own skills, resources, and brute strength for power and domination. They all competed with each other to amass the greatest wealth and to produce the most powerful and lethal armies, weapons, and sattelite systems. It is this wealth and technology that will make them invincible and to dominate others. Even the great State of Israel is part of this rat race.

But the Torah based core Jewish people have nevr put their faith in wealth and weapons. They have for genrations taken refuge under the Kanfei HaShechina - ופרוש עלינו סוכת שלומיך . We have always dwelled in G-d's sukka. And from generation to generation it would get hot in there sometimes. And some of us would kick down the sukka and leave.

But many of us didn't.

Those of us who stuck to the Torah - ואתם הדבקים בה' אלקיכם חיים כולכם היום . We did not depend on manmade wealth and weapons and technology. We are the ones who will merit the reward of Torah in the "future to come".

So G-d tells the nations: Let us see if you can also observe the mitzvah of "sukka". Let us see if you can dispense with your military might and technology and weaponry and depend only on Me. The nations will throw away their weapons and occupy the "sukka". But this alone is not the test. G-d has to "turn up the heat" and subject the nations to the same ordeals that Klal Yisroel had to endure for millenia. They will immediately "kick the sukka" and run back in search of their man made might. But, by then, it will be gone.

And G-d will laugh at them.

Endnote - I have a second explanation as to the relevance of the mitzvah of Sukka and its connection to Koheles. I wanted to include it but I am out of time (almost Shabbos). It is hidden in the pasuk in Koheles 7:2. Let's see if anybody can uncover it!


Anonymous said...


G said...

Why do you always feel the need to push others down/aside when making points?

They are often fine and legitimate ones and yet the inherent superiority and confidence bordering on arrogance just tinges everything (in my opinion, obviously).

maybe it's just me but it always seems like you need to push down others in order pull up yourself...not exactly in keeping with your cover (as flawed as it is to begin with)

And please don't give me anything about calling them as you see them , just laying out the facts or that you can't help it if this is just the reality of a Torah worldview. That simply self justification/legitimization, plenty of people have found ways to be positive w/o being simultaneously "negative".

Yechezkel said...

"maybe it's just me but it always seems... "

Judging from the massive response and overwhelming avalanche of comments that I have been getting for my posts... it's just you.

Anonymous said...

nope, I'm with G and I think the reason other people have stopped reading/commenting on your blog is for just this reason.

Yechezkel said...

To G and Anonymous:

You guys ain't seen nothin' yet. Just wait till my next post! ;-}>