All Together NowOctober 3, 2012 - 5:00 am
“Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles.” — Zechariah 14:16
Sukkot, the Festival of Tabernacles, is definitely a favorite among kids and adults young at heart. After the seriousness of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Sukkot is a welcome change. Just after Yom Kippur ends, construction on the sukkah, a temporary outdoor hut, begins. Kids enjoy building the sukkah and decorating it. But once the holiday starts, the real fun begins.
Kids are thrilled to participate in the yearly activity known as “sukkah-hopping.” Think trick-or-treat, minus the costumes, plus an added dose of singing and many words of Torah. Kids go from one sukkah to the next and celebrate together with neighbors, family, and friends. Sukkot is the holiday of togetherness. It’s fun for the kids and brings great pleasure to God.
Like much in Judaism, Sukkot comes with many customs and rules. A sukkah must have at least two and a half walls, but preferably, four. It must be made out of natural materials like wood and leaves. A sukkah cannot be taller than 20 cubits high. But how wide can a sukkah be? The answer is: infinity!
A sukkah could, in theory, go on forever. Theoretically, every person in the world could reside in one very large sukkah. The festival of Sukkot is all about inclusivity. It is the holiday where everyone in the world comes together in service of God.
The prophet Zechariah writes: “Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles” (14:16). The prophet tells us that in messianic times, all of the nations of the world will make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem in order to celebrate the holiday of Sukkot. But you know what? It’s already happening.
For the first time in thousands of years, people from all over the world are streaming to Jerusalem on the holiday of Sukkot. People from all walks of life can be found on the cobblestone streets and alleyways of the Holy City. The time for coming together in service of God is now. And what better time than the holiday of Sukkot, a holiday of togetherness, to make it happen.
The psalmist writes, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (Psalms 133:1). This Sukkot, let’s get together!