Too Busy to Sin
'And you shall take unto yourself on the first day...'
According to the Midrash, the festival of Sukkot is considered the first day in the calculation of sins. Why? On Yom Kippur, the 10th of Tishrei, the slate was wiped clean.
For the next few days, the 11th through the 14th, every Jew is busy eagerly preparing for the holiday. The first day of Sukkot, on the 15th, is the first opportunity an individual could have possibly had to commit a sin! Furthermore, according to some opinions, the fruit of the Tree of Life eaten by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden was an etrog. The first day of Sukkot therefore marks the beginning of the calculation of sin for all mankind.
Growing Through Adversity
The etrog is a unique fruit in that it remains on the tree for an entire year, thriving precisely on the changes in climate of the different seasons.
For this reason the etrog is symbolic of the Jew, the eternal wanderer who must endure all kinds of trials and tribulations as he suffers in exile.
Yet like the etrog, the Jew will thrive even in the most adverse conditions and emerge triumphant with the coming of Moshiach.
Dancin' in the Streets
During the seven days of Sukkot, and Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah which follow, we are enjoined by the Torah to rejoice in the holiday.
In the times of the Holy Temple, special festivities were held each night of Sukkot, in celebration of a special water-drawing ceremony.
The modern twist to this ancient celebration includes dancing that often spills over into the streets.
Join a celebration or organize one for yourself and friends. And, as the Rebbe suggests, make it a family affair by having the entire family participate.
In the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn the streets are blocked off, and the dancing and music last until dawn.
Call your local Chabad Lubavitch Center for celebrations in your area.
The Direction of the Lulav
The Hebrew word "lulav" is made up of two words: lo -- to him and lev -- heart. This hints to us that we must direct our heart to Him, to G-d.
You Shall Dwell in Booths Seven Days (Lev. 23:42)
On the Festival of Ingathering, when we harvest the crops, we are commanded to dwell in sukot, booths. A sukka is a temporary dwelling place; a person is obligated to move from his permanent home into a sukka to impress upon him that true security is provided by G-d. A person who harvests an abundant crop may forget the true Source of his wealth. Dwelling in a sukka reminds him that affluence and success are temporary, and he is dependent on G-d.