Featured in local papers on Thursday, October 4, 2001. Copyright 2001 by Yosef Y. Polter

Sukkot and Security

The past few weeks have been very difficult, to say the least.  Our physical and emotional wounds are still fresh.  The pain, loss, and sense of violation are all so real.  We've been shocked into a new, frightening world.  We find ourselves groping for answers, trying to cope, to help, and to protect ourselves in the near and distant future.  However, life must go on with some peace of mind.  Perhaps the holiday of Sukkot can offer some much-needed strength, comfort, and hope.

We are now in the midst of the seven-day festival of Sukkot (Tuesday, October 2, through Monday, October 8).  During Sukkot, Jews are commanded to dwell in a Sukkah - a sort of hut.  We observe this commandment primarily through eating our meals in the Sukkah.  Sukkot commemorates G‑d's shelter of the Israelites during their forty-year sojourn in the desert.

Fifty-one weeks of the year we live in our permanent structures with climate control, alarm systems, and many other conveniences. One week of the year we are told to abandon that sense of security and spend some time in a very temporary, flimsy structure (the Sukkah).  This observance gives us an annual reminder, lest we forget, that our ultimate protection comes from the A-mighty and not from the physical homes we build - a basic message of the Sukkot holiday. 

We are still, in fact, obligated to do everything we possibly can to keep ourselves safe.  However, this should give us an added sense of calm, by reminding us that while we do our best there is also another all-powerful source of protection. 

May G‑d bless our country and its leaders in their endeavor to head an allied effort to bring terrorism to an end once and for all.  As for us, may we all do our little share in making the world a place where G‑d would want to manifest His blessings of peace, through more acts of goodness and kindness between ourselves and our fellow human beings, as well as improved behavior toward G‑d.

May the Lord console and sustain all who were directly affected by this unfathomable tragedy and may He heal us all by ushering in an era of true world peace speedily in our days.  Amen

Rabbi Yosef Polter is the director of the Chabad Jewish Center located at 148 Great Road (2A) in Acton.  For information about the Center please call (978)929-2513 or 758-8994 or visit www.chabadofacton.com