Last night at our shul's Ritual Committee meeting, Larry Rubin read from a terrific Dvar Torah he found by Rabbi Oren Hayon from Dallas. Here's the link to the whole thing. Here is the beginning just below. My own page on Sukkot is here. Chag Sameach!
D'var Torah: Making Homelessness Our Home
September 28, 2009
by Oren J. Hayon
Like a giant tent spread atop three tall pillars that support it and give it shape, the Jewish year is held up by the Shalosh R'galim, the "three pilgrimage festivals." Pesach commemorates the joy of liberation and freedom, Shavuot acknowledges the power of God's word revealed in Torah, and Sukkot reminds Israel of nights spent in fragile huts during its wilderness sojourn.
Pesach and Shavuot celebrate spiritual fulfillment, times when God anticipated Israel's needs and acted bountifully and graciously to fulfill them. We were granted political and national fulfillment on Pesach, when we were led out of the painful grip of slavery. Atop Sinai, we were given the wisdom of Torah, and we celebrate its spiritual and intellectual fulfillment on Shavuot. But Sukkot, in contrast, does not celebrate substantive fulfillment at all. Instead, it acknowledges the insecurity and uncertainty of desert nights spent in frail temporary shelters.
Stranger still is this fact: each of the pilgrimage festivals has an alternate name which alludes to its purpose and religious symbolism. Pesach is called Z'man Cheiruteinu, "the Time of Our Freedom." Shavuot is called Z'man Matan Torateinu, "the Time of our Receiving Torah." And the name that tradition ascribes to Sukkot is Z'man Simchateinu, "the Time of Our Joy."
Might not this be a better title for some other holiday? What, after all, is so joyous about the memories of being homeless and directionless in the desert? Read more...