Choose Shabbat: Chol Hamoed Sukkot
When you Choose Shabbat, you choose to learn that every Shabbat is different and special. This week I shook a lulav and etrog and learned all about Sukkot, a Torah-commanded holiday of gratitude and joy that is celebrated for seven days beginning on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei. Sukkot marks the end of the Torah reading cycle, taking us from the creation of the universe through Egypt and the wilderness to stand on the brink of entering the Promised Land. As Sukkot concludes we celebrate Simchat Torah and begin a new cycle of weekly Torah portions.
When Shabbat occurs on Chol Hamoed of either Sukkot or Passover, we read Exodus 33:12–34:26 containing “the Thirteen Attributes of G-d”; G-d is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness and faithfulness, extending kindness to the thousandth generation, forgiving inequity, transgression and sin and granting pardon.
Rabbi Michael D Klein of Temple Torat Emet offers his insights on Shabbat Kol Hamoed Sukkot:
Many years ago, long before the time when there was a hut in which pizza was served, Jewish people marching through the desert lived in flimsy, temporary, portable, structures called Sukkot. During the hot days, the Sukkah provided some shelter from the broiling sun. At night we slept in the Sukkah and could see the moon and stars through the porous openings in its roof. For farmers and shepherds in ancient Israel, the Sukkah provided protection while they were planting, harvesting or tending to their flocks. The impermanence of the Sukkah structure emphasized these ancient ancestor’s connection to nature but also their dependence on G-d to watch over them and sustain them.
In modern times, we still build these structures next to our permanent dwellings to return us to the days of our ancestors, as commanded in the Torah. We don’t need a hurricane to remind us that we should never feel too smug or secure in our permanent concrete and wood structures. This holiday is about increasing our awareness that there are people right now whose homes have been swept away and with the rising costs of rent and mortgage may not have a home to live in altogether. It is our responsibility before we sit in our Sukkot to make sure that we have donated some of our blessings to them. I am appealing to you to donate to my Rabbi’s discretionary fund to help us help those in our Southwest Florida community whose homes have been swept away by Hurricane Ian. The Palm Beach County Jewish Federation created a special Hurricane Ian Emergency Relief Fund to which every dollar donated will be given to those in dire need. The time to help is now; may we always be blessed with the ability to help those in need. Chag Sameach!
Rabbi Michael D. Klein attended Yeshiva College of South Florida and served as Torah Reader, Hebrew teacher, Chazzan and spiritual leader of various synagogues throughout South Florida. In January 2015 he became Ritual Director, Bnai/Bnot Mitzvah instructor and 7th grade Hebrew instructor for Temple Torat Emet of Boynton Beach. In October 2019 he was accepted into an accelerated track and received his shicha from Yeshiva Adath Wolkowisk and has been the Rabbinic leadership of Temple Torat Emet since August 2020. In September of 2022 he was appointed Rabbinic and Spiritual Advisor of the Florida Region of FJMC.
Choose Shabbat; choose to celebrate, to light candles, sing songs and learn a little Torah.
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