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Yom Kippur begins this Sunday evening Sept. 27 and all day Monday. YIZKOR will be recited on Monday.


May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a New Year of

health, happiness, prosperity and peace.


Friday evening, Oct. 2 begins the Holiday of Sukkot.


It is just after the long fast and the many hours spent in prayer and repentance that a remarkable thing happens. Jews the world over go outdoors to bless the new moon and begin building their Sukkot. So, what's the big hurry?


Why start a construction job when you're emotionally and physically drained? In fact, why would we build a Sukkah in the fall when historically, Sukkot happened in the spring?


Sukkot represents Hashem's divine protection of our people in the desert following the Exodus from Egypt. That occurred at Pesach, not after Yom Kippur. Furthermore, why do we call this holiday, Sukkot. We "bench" Etrog (it's the most precious of the four species) and the Lulav has 3 Mitzvot in one, but the Sukkah is just a plain booth. Why "Sukkot"?


Perhaps, the answers to these questions illustrate our closer relationship with Hashem following Yom Kippur. Our enthusiasm to embrace a new Mitzvah even while we are weak, demonstrates that we really meant the words that we prayed. It's the actions that count and we wish to show

Hashem that we're eager to start our New Year of Mitzvot.


Our sages teach that although spring time would be the logical season to observe Sukkot, the fall presents a great opportunity to teach the world about man's need for Hashem's protection. Were we to build our Sukkah in the spring, people would assume that Jews wish to enjoy the fine outdoor weather. In the fall, however, people will ask why and we will answer that life is fragile and Hashem surrounds us with his divine protection.


Finally, the fragile and humble booth teaches us something that perhaps, no other Mitzvah can do. All other Mitzvot are accomplished at specific times (prayer, the Passover Seder, fasting, etc.) and with specific limbs (hand washing, learning Torah, Kashrut, etc.) When we enter the Sukkah, however, our entire being is enveloped by it and all our activities are contained within. So too, is our Judaism. It's not an add-on to our lifestyle; it's our way of life!


Gmar Chatima Tova!





The book of Kohelet, Ecclesiastes is read on Sukkot. Kohelet almost did not become part of the Tanach due to its negative tone. The ending, however, is what made all the difference. What do the last verses of Kohelet teach us about the secret of happiness?


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