Shadow & Belief in the Light of Sukkot

Sukkot is a Jewish holiday celebrated on 15th of Tishrei for seven days. Within those days we leave our homes and houses and move to dwell in temporary huts, Sukkot (plural of Suka), to remind us of 40 years of wandering in the desert coming out of Egypt on the way to the land of Israel.

The main thing of the Sukka (Hut) is the roof, sechach, meaning the shadow of the roof has to be bigger than the  sunlight that comes through it.

What is the Deeper Meaning of Sukkot?

We can ask the following questions:

a.  Why has the shadow to be bigger than the sunlight?

b.  What is the connection between shadow and belief ?

Here’s what tradition would suggest:

The sunlight symbolizes fulfilment, optimum conditions and functioning in the natural elements. Shadow symbolizes the opposite, shadow symbolizes living under inconvenient conditions, sometimes under unbearable conditions against our nature to enjoy life.

The shadow in the Sukka has to be bigger than the sunlight that comes through the Sechach (roof) to show that belief in life and human spirit is bigger and beyond the surrounding conditions.

Actually, belief reveals itself only in shadow conditions!  When everything is great we don’t need a belief because we experience the goodness: our belief is tested in those moments that the good convenient conditions are gone and we need to extend ourselves beyond what we can see, feel or think, and believe that life is existing beyond our capabilities to feel and to contain in our senses.

That’s why the shadow in the Sukka has to be bigger than the sunlight, meaning the belief has to be bigger than any nature conditions. This is the essence of humanity, the belief in the spirit, in goodness, that every thing that is happening is happening to bestow.

Conclusion

To bend our will is not always easy. We can act outwardly like we bend our will to new conditions, but the heart is revoking inside and rebels. This is why Sukkot is also called in the origins the time of our happiness, Zeman Sim-Chatei-Nu, because when we are happy is a sign that the heart is aligned with new conditions and merry. This is why to decorate the Sukka is a Mitzva (a good deed).

Because: Decorations denotes the happiness of the heart.

Hag Same-ach! (Happy holiday)

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About Eti Shani

Eti Shani was born in Israel and has been teaching Hebrew for more than 10 years with a special interest and experience in ancient Hebrew scriptures and culture. She's also the author of a series of books for novice and intermediate Hebrew learners.

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