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Enveloped in Redemption

During the week of Sukkot, we exchange our comfortable, permanent dwelling for a primitive hut. Under a canopy of branches, called schach, beneath the open sky, we dine, entertain, and turn the sukkah into our temporary home.

The uniqueness of the mitzvah of sukkah is that it does not imply performing any special activity; we behave naturally, doing the same things we would do at home. Other mitzvot require doing a specific act, such as consuming matzah or laying tefillin on our head and arm. Sukkah, though, is an all-encompassing mitzvah. Simply through sitting in the sukkah and doing whatever we would do in our living rooms, we are fulfilling the will of G-d.

Another special feature of the mitzvah of sukkah is that it completely envelopes the entire person. Every other mitzva refines the particular limb of the body that is used to perform that mitzvah. When eating matzah, we elevate our mouths and digestive system. Through laying tefillin, we bring holiness to our arm and forehead. When we enter the sukkah, though, we enter with our entire body; our complete entity is involved in performing this mitzvah. We leave our usual existence behind and enter into an elevated state of being, a mitzvah atmosphere.

Thus, the mitzvah of sukkah, more than any other, expresses the essential bond of a Jew with the One Above. Our connection to G-d is not limited to our performance of spiritual acts such as prayer and Torah study. It encompasses our entire existence, even when we are involved in mundane acts such as eating and drinking.

From the mitzvah of sukkah we learn that our connection to G-d expresses itself naturally, in everything that we do. Any act that we perform, if done with the intent of serving G-d, can become elevated and holy.

The mitzvah of sukkah is a reflection of what life will be like in the Messianic era. Normal human living will continue; we will not suddenly become transformed into angels. We will still need to eat, drink and sleep, and the world will run according to natural laws. The difference will be in the atmosphere that surrounds us. In our everyday lives, we will experience a new dimension of G-dly awareness.

The preparations we make for Moshiach's arrival reflect on the reality that we are expecting. Thus, our preparation need not be limited to doing special, sacred acts. Rather, we prepare for Moshiach by internalizing a general "Moshiach consciousness" - through making ourselves aware of the G-dliness that permeates the world and expresses itself through every act that we do, and discussing the imminent arrival of Moshiach at any possible opportunity. In this manner, our everyday existence will be transformed into a Moshiach reality.

 

 


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