Feast or famine? Every month I
try to think of an interesting topic to write about. On occasion, it is
difficult thinking of one. This is one of those months in which the difficulty
is deciding which subjects to ignore. There is so much going on. There are major
holidays coming up, as we all know--Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Succot, Sh'mini
Atzeret and Simchat Torah. (FYI--the latter two are not really part of the
holiday of Succot.)
In the areas of Jewish Law, it doesn't get more difficult. Rosh Hashana, with the Shofar--who, what, when, how and why; Yom Kippur--so many things prohibited but so many details for those whose health is not 100%. Succot comes with its own sets of laws for the who, what, when, how and why of a Succah and the who, what, when, how and why of the Arba Minim/Four Species (Lulav, Etrog, Hadassim and Aravot). Holidays or Yomim Tovim have their own set of laws, in some ways the same as Shabbat and in many ways quite different.
Then there is one of the least known or understood times on the calendar--Chol Hamo'ed. Its literal meaning somewhat describes it: it is the "non-holy part of the
I do want to share one thought in this column, however. According to Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (19th-century
The lesson: the protecting roof has essentially the character of being precarious, not firm, devoid of both the powers of Nature and of Man, and, in the fundamental nature of its material, the same for all people, their socio-economic situation notwithstanding. The separating, delimiting element, the walls, may have almost any degree of solidity desired, and in the kind of material used for them, completely free choice is allowed. The s'chach represents that which gives us protection; the walls, that which ensures our social privacy, expressing the thought: however greatly we may differ in the social conditions that may separate us here below on earth, whether the space that one man calls his own is enclosed in marble walls, wooden ones, or walls that barely protect at all, in that which protects us from above we are all equal. The s'chach is the same for all; the beggar and the millionaire both are to reject both Man and Nature as the protective power of their lives. In living temporarily under s'chach, we are all to be reminded that in what protects us and in God's eyes we are all fundamentally the same.
May all the upcoming Holidays be happy and meaningful!