Seeking True Sukkot Celebrations? Put Inclusion on the Menu

October 1, 2020
International Sh’lichim


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Following Yom Kippur, a solemn day of atonement, the holiday of Sukkot is meant to be a joyous celebration. We lift our spirits by building Sukkot—the traditional huts—eating our meals in them, enjoying the outdoors, and inviting others to celebrate with us. Along with our festivities comes a sense of relief and self-care.

But how can we celebrate when there are so many people suffering right now? Without considering those in need, it is problematic to celebrate such a joyous holiday? On Sukkot, it is imperative that we keep in mind those without homes, constant sources of income, food on their plates, or communities to celebrate with; we welcome them into our Sukkot because everyone deserves joy.

The Sukkah is built with three walls, leaving the fourth side open for all those who want to enter. It is customary to expansively invite others into the Sukkah to join in festivities because without them, we do not indulge in the celebration of a mitzvah, but rather the celebration of our own selfish good fortune. Such rejoicing is disgraceful. Yet, in this unusual year, we are left wondering how we can welcome guests safely into our Sukkot.

It is important to recognize that there are many ways to make others feel welcome and celebrated in our Sukkot without their physical presence. By utilizing virtual platforms to invite those who may be physically isolated to join us virtually in our Sukkah, we can expand our Sukkot celebrations beyond the three physical walls.

Additionally, as we eat are our meals in the Sukkah, we can consider those who are less fortunate and who may not have an abundance of food. By donating food items to charitable organizations or volunteering at local soup kitchens, we can carry the Sukkot celebration with us to people that otherwise would be unable to rejoice.

So, as we build our Sukkot and prepare for our festivities, we must keep in mind that in order to fulfill our mitzvot and celebrate gracefully, we must include, invite, and help those who are in need, either physically or emotionally, and extend generosity, connection, and good fortune in whatever ways we are able.

Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom,

32nd International Shlichim, Kelly and Daniel

From the current Grand Aleph Shaliach and International Sh'licha.

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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