While walking his dog on a Sukkot night, Assi Azar learned something new about the holiday. Also, watch the trailer for the famous host’s new documentary.
Two nights ago, I walked my beloved dog Amos before bedtime. A small light came from our neighborhood’s sukkah. Inside I saw Rabbi Adi sitting alone, reading, studying. Adi, for those who don’t remember or haven’t seen him, is the wonderful rabbi in my film “He’s my God, Too” (trailer with English subtitles below), who advises me on quite a few issues in life. A friend.
So I went into the sukkah, and I sat with him a little (while Amos was picking up leftovers from the floor) and we talked a bit about the holiday of Sukkot and its meaning, and I decided to share with you what he told me, because I thought it was beautiful.
I asked: so how do sukkah and lulav relate to me? I mean, apart from being a vague childhood memory … what do they actually say to me?
Adi answered: What’s special about the sukkah is that it does not differentiate between people. Jewish sources stated that the whole of Israel is worthy to sit under the same sukkah, which shows the atmosphere of unity that the sukkah inspires.
And four species may be different from each other. The Etrog (the fruit of a citron tree) – has a taste and smell, the lulav (closed frond from a date palm tree) – has only taste but no smell. Hadass (boughs with leaves from the myrtle tree) – has no taste, only smell, and the Arava (branches with leaves from the willow tree), has no taste and no smell. But only when you unite them together… do you get it?
Me: I get it.
And Adi continued with a smile: So do the people of Israel. The Midrash tells us that there are Jews who are like the Etrog, who have both Torah and good deeds (taste and smell), some are more like Hadass – only have smell (good deeds) and those who are Lulav (only Torah scholars) and there are those who have neither taste nor smell … but only when you join them all together, a true unity is formed. When there’s unity inside each and every soul, there will also be unity between Israel and themselves, and from that will grow unity even in the whole world.
Me: wonderful, so it means that there’s room here for everyone, for the good and for the less good. I like that. Tell me, does our sukkah have a name?
Adi: The sukkah is called “Sukkat Shalom” (‘Sukkah of Peace’), for only a true unity can bring true peace.