The Third Leg
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holiday of Sukkos is unique in that it is the last holiday of the Jewish year
(we count the new year as starting from Tishrei, as we regard Tishrei as the
month during which man was created. We count holidays from the month of Nissan).
only is it the last holiday of the year, it is also the culmination of two
series of holidays. It is the culmination of both of the "Shalosh Regalim",
the three major holidays when one is required to go to the Temple -- Pesach
(Passover), Shavuos, and Sukkos -- and of the "Yomim Norayim", the
days of awe -- Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur -- which are followed by Sukkos.
us first explain how these two series of holidays culminate in Sukkos.
is the third leg of Pesach and Shavuos. Pesach is compared to an engagement,
when we first encountered G-d. Shavuos is considered the marriage, when we
entered into a covenant with Him by receiving the Torah. Sukkos is the honeymoon
after the marriage, when we go "live" with G-d.
is the culmination of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, by virtue of the clarity
achieved on Sukkos. Sukkos is called zman simchaseinu — season of happiness.
On Rosh Hashanah we reinforce the concept that G-d is King. Once we know this,
we are able to truly beseech G-d for His forgiveness on Yom Kippur. Having
achieved that, we reach a point of clarity — happiness on Sukkos, and to
express this happiness and clarity, we leave the security of our homes and move
into a dwelling with G-d — the Sukkah.
the last Biblically ordained holiday of the year (Chanuka and Purim are
Rabbinical holidays), also teaches us an important lesson.
holiday comes to sanctify a specific human expression. Pesach sanctifies our
mouths through the eating of matza. Shavuos sanctifies our intellect through
accepting of the Torah. Rosh Hashanah sanctifies our ears through listening to
the sound of the shofar (the commandment on Rosh Hashanah is to hear the
shofar). The commandment to see the Temple on Peasch, Shavuos and Sukkos
sanctifies the eyes — "Three times you shall appear before G-d"
(Deut.16:16). Sadly, due to the loss of the Temple, we are unable to properly
perform this commandment.
Kippur, which is called Shabbos Shabbason, a double Shabbos, is when we focus on
our neshama (soul) and strictly spiritual activity (thus no eating, drinking,
wearing of shoes, etc.). On Sukkos itself we have the commandment to take the
four species (lulav, esrog, aravah, and hadas) which sanctifies our hands and
sense of touch.*
Sukkos, we have the unique privilege of immersing our entire body in the mitzva
by living in the Sukkah (one must eat meals and sleep in the Sukkah). It is the
only commandment we do which involves our entire body (Although Sukkos also has
the mitzva of the four species, as mentioned above, the definition of a holiday
is found in its name).
we observe all the holidays we are able to sanctify our physical and spiritual
selves in many ways.
* The only sense not mentioned is the sense of smell. The sense of smell is the only sense not used by Adom (the first man) when he sinned in the Garden of Eden. In fact, the sense of smell is used during the havdalah service that marks the departure of Shabbos, when we smell spices to restore our soul.