A Sukkot Poem That Won’t Win Any Awards But the Author Enjoyed Writing It
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Is it Súkkos or Sukkót? Many Ashkenazic Jews (of Eastern European origin) pronounce the Festival of Booth as Sukkos to rhyme with "took us." Israelis and increasingly many Ashkenazic Jews as well pronounce it Sukkot to rhyme with "two coat."
We’re not all in the same boat; As they say – two Jews, three opinions.
Some say sukkah, some say sukee, The booth constructed for Sukkot is called a sukkah, pronounced either like a New Yorker would say, “He’s a looker” without the final “r,” or else to rhyme with a magician’s cry of triumph, “Ta-da!” My aunt used to call it a sukkee, and I assume she wasn’t alone in that pronunciation.
Whether pro or whether rookie, Whether you have years of experience with this holiday, or you’re a newcomer to it.
Secular or in black coat. Theoretically this should be secular or Black Hat, the latter referring to Orthodox Jews towards the right end of the spectrum, characterized among other things by the wearing of black hats. Many Hasidic Jews, a subset of the Orthodox, still wear the black coats prevalent among Eastern European Jewry of the 18th century.
Doesn’t matter how you say it,
What’s important is the way it
Shows what God did in the midbar Midbar is Hebrew for the wilderness, the desert, where we wandered for forty years after leaving Egypt. OK, how you say it does matter a little bit. You don’t want to pronounce sukkah like soccer. But the point is, we celebrate the holiday and built booths as a way of remembering what God did between the time we exited Egypt and entered Canaan.
When adults and every kid – bar
none – were housed in booths, so "play it This is the import of Leviticus 23:42-43: “Live in booths for seven days: All native-born Israelites are to live in booths so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in booths when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.” The final three words of this verse of the poem
again Sam," and tell the story …together with these two words, reference a line in the film Casablanca, which exists only in the popular imagination (the line, not the film). The actual dialogue is different, but “play it again Sam” has become entrenched in community memory. This line also references the fact that Sukkot is an annual celebration (“play it again”) meant to remind us, and convey to future generations, the story of what God did.
Of how God in all his glory
Made us dwell in shelters while we
Wandered years when we were highly
In rebellion and not sorry. That about sums it up. The forty years we wandered in the wilderness were for acting up and acting out, aka rebelling against God. After 400 years of slavery, I’m sure there was a learning curve in figuring out how to relate to God based on trust, rather than fear. So though the forty years spent in the desert was in response to our copping an attitude, God still provided for all our needs: food (the daily manna), clothing (see Deuteronomy 29:5), and shelter.
But today we wave the lulav,
Hold the etrog to remind of The lulav is an assemblage of palm branches, myrtle leaves, and willow leaves. The etrog is a citron, a fruit in the lemon family. The origin of these items is found in Leviticus 23:40: “On the first day [of Sukkot] you are to take choice fruit from the trees, and palm fronds, leafy branches and poplars, and rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days.” The lulav is waved inside the sukkah in the four directions of the compass as well as up and down. One tradition says this reminds us that God is omnipresent, everywhere all at once. Another tradition says that the lulav and etrog remind us of the human body: the palm leaves look like our spine, the willow leaves like our lips, the myrtle leaves like our eyes, and the etrog like our heart. And so we should serve God with our whole being.
Days when God provided housing,
Making us to sound a rousing
Cry of "Amein" for His great love. I don’t know that we cried “Amein” in the wilderness but we certainly do today.
When we dwell inside the sukkah “Live in booths for seven days,” says Leviticus 23:42. In practice, some only take meals there, others build a booth and only do a few ceremonies in it, others meet at a congregationally-built sukkah.
Some of us read in a book, a-
bout our God who came among us, Those of us who are Jewish believers in Jesus read in the New Testament about how the God of Israel came to dwell in our midst.
"tabernacled" and then brung us In the New Testament, John 1:14 says that “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” Literally, he “tabernacled” among us. This is appropriate for the Festival of Tabernacles (or Booths) because it reminds us that God is our everlasting dwelling place and that He dwells among us today in the person of Jesus
Everlasting life and b’rucha. Not only did he come to dwell among us, by his atoning death he brought eternal life and blessing, which is the meaning of the Hebrew b’rucha. That, however, is a discussion for another holiday.