Sunday, 26 February 2012

Why is Sukkos Right After Yom Kippur?

by Clear Eyes (See all authors)

It seems that for me and a lot of people on the forum, the days after yom Kippur were especially hard. But why? Shouldn't they be easy for us? At least for a few days till Y"K wears off! Why were we falling or having such urges to fall, just moments after the Shofar blasts? It mamesh makes no sense. But its the truth!

Let's answer this question with another question. Why does Sukkos fall out when it does? Sukkos has ties with yetzsias mitzrayim and wandering in the desert. It has nothing to do with Tishrei. So why does it fall out on the 15th of Tishrei?

The most famous answer is, that on sukkos we are commanded to eat outside in a sukkah. The sukka symbolizes either the huts we lived in the desert or the clouds which protected us during our wanderings. Yetzsias mitzrayim took place during the Spring, when people leave there houses to enjoy the weather. People are already outside in their huts. If we were commanded to eat in a sukkah then, the meaning would be misconstrued. Therefore sukkos falls out during Fall, when people are returning to their houses.

Ok, that's a nice answer, but it doesn't answer the question 100%. Why does Sukkos fall out so close after Yom Kippur?

Since we are doing so well with the questions, let's ask yet another question.

How can we not have something after Yom Kippur? We just spent the past 40 days returning and coming closer to Hashem. We just experienced 30 days of Elul, 2 days of Rosh Hoshana, a week of yimei teshuva and then Yom Kippur. From the whole year, Hashem is closest to us on these days. And the ability to feel Him increases as we approach Yom Kippur. And even in the holiest day itself, Neilah is the pinnacle of it all. Who doesn't cry out then to our Father in heaven and convince themselves in the bottom of their hearts that will never fall again. And then what? We blow the shofar and go home! We go back to regular life! How is this possible? How can Hashem create such a void in us, to bring us in so close, and then send us away!??

The answer is, He doesn't. He gives us a holiday. He gives us arbah minim. He gives us a sukkah. These are what we need to maintain our connection with Him. We take the arbah minim, which represent our heart, eyes and mouth. The heart and eyes are crucial to maintaining that connection with Hashem. "V'lo suro acharei l'vavchem v'acharei enechem". What we let into our bodies through these channels affects us tremendously; GUARD them. And we all know how important it is to GUARD what comes out of our mouth. We can't even begin to imagine the destructive forces of lashon hara and talking at forbidden times in shul.

Sukka; leave your house, the comfort of this world and go out into a sukka. Realize that we are only guests in this world and don't get attached to worldly pleasure. Spend 7 days with Hashem, learning this valuable lesson.

To answer our original question, Hashem knew these days would be hard, which is why He gave us Sukkos to fill the void left after Yom Kippur. (Please see Kedusha's post as well. This is also why until Sukkos actually begins we may not be responsible for the sins we did in the days right after Yom Kippur, if we enter Sukkos the proper way).

Let us all appreciate this special Yom Tov, a true gift from Hashem. It is for us to continue to get closer to Him after our 40 days of Teshuva. Learning to live with Him in the real world, by protecting ourselves from outside influences, and by realizing we are only here temporarily. Only after we have learned this, will we be ready to move on from Yom Kippur and live through the year.

A Guten Shabbos and Yom Tov.