Off the Pulpit: Restoration

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

Yes, Succot is over, but Rabbi David Bashevkin drew my attention to a beautiful comment that you can remember until next year!

During the grace after meals on Succot we recoite the blessing asking God to rebuild the “fallen Succah of David.” The blessing comes from the prophet Amos (9:11). The Maharal of Prague points out that when we ask God to rebuild the “fallen Succah” of David, we are saying something profound about the nature of a Succah. Unlike a house which, when it falls or crumbles, is no longer a house but a pile of rubble, even a dismantled Succah remains a Succah.

The lesson is one of restoration. The pieces of a relationship may be gathered back up and restored. The elements of something sacred retain their character, because they are awaiting renewal. The Jewish people, scattered, remained one people, not a random group, and when Israel was reborn we reassembled like a fallen Succah raised anew.

Succot may be over, but the lesson endures forever.

(Rabbi David Wolpe is the senior rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.)

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