Some insights and stories from Reb Shlomo Carlebach.
You know my beautiful friends, by Ne’ilah –before God is closing the gates –`HE’ never closes the gates, but `HE’ takes us in to the highest place in the world, to the innermost chamber –every Jew is alone with God, and God says to us: I have an invitation for you: please come for one week to my Sukkah. Humanely speaking: to God’s summer house, to God’s Spa.
Come there for one week, and I will cure your heart, cure your soul, give you strength.
And if you really want to know, if God forgives you on Yom Kippur, then question is: Are you coming to the Sukkah. Are you feeling at home in the Sukkah, did you hear God’s invitation?
Everybody knows that one second after Yom Kippur, and for the real ones, even before you eat, you run to get yourself a Masechta Sukkah, begin learning a little bit –ah, Masechta Sukkah, every word of Masechta Sukkah has the joy of Sukkot; the exaltness and the holiness.
Ah –You know, Yom Kippur night, the night after Yom Kippur, and you can sit there all night, Masechta Sukkah. You think it’s Paradise –ten billion
Paradise –and every word is shining into your heart, because on Yom Kippur night our hearts are so cleansed, and everything goes in so deep. And all the dust is gone, we are new people. And if you can, you can start working on your Sukkah. And then for four days we are building the Sukka. We are building the Sukka outside the house because I realize, I need a new house.
And you know, according to our holy tradition, the sukkah is mamash Yerushalayim. Because one day, the Gemorah says, every city will be Yerushalayim, every house will be the holy Temple.
And to be on any street in the world, I build a Sukkah, and it’s Yerushalayim. Like after the Messiah comes. And everybody knows, also, the Gemorah says, that basically all the sukkahs are one sukkah, because God wants all of Israel to be in one Sukkah.
On Sukkot there is no hatred, theirs is so much Achdut — You know what we do in the Sukkah, we take the four species and I’m sure I’m not telling you anything new ..
The ETROG looks like a lemon, but it’s so beautiful –it’s a real beautiful Jew, the one who learns so much, the one who does so much. The LULAV –ah, it’s the Jew who has the strongest spine in the world, the one who’s learning –these are our young people, the ones our future –strong like lions. And the leaves of the lulav are together.
Then comes the HADASSAH (myrtle), looks so beautiful, looks like eyes that is, the shape of the leaves is like the stylized shape of the eyes and It’s always 3 leaves together, because the depth of Sukkot is Peace and like our marriage there are 3 partners – Husband, Wife and God are all helping each other to reach our potential.
The ARAVA –a little bit sad. The Arava represents those Jews who are not connected to their Judaism. But the Arava is needed to complete the four species. They are needed especially in our Holy land, and when the Arava gets together with the other three, all of them are so beautiful in perfect Unity bringing Achdut to Am Yisrael.
And everybody knows, you wave to all four sides. You know what the deepest secret of life is: that basically everything is in God’s hands. And it is also in my hands. And it is so hard to know the delicate line. On Sukkot it is a revelation from heaven. On Sukkot, God is shining into me –yes, I’m sitting in the Sukkah under God’s shadow, but yet I have the whole world in my hand.
USHPIZIN – and there we invite our holy father Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aharon, Josef and King David into our Sukkahs.
And you know my beautiful friends: the more mistakes you make, the further away you feel from the people you love. Not only that, our holy rabbis teach us, when you make mistakes, you begin to hate the people who love you the most, and who you love the most. So after Yom Kippur, we’re making peace again with our parents, with our brothers and our sisters. Avrom Avinu comes with the four mothers –and all the holy women, all the mothers and fathers- ah, it’s so good again.
And my beautiful friends: Sukkos night, the first night, I bless you to feel at home in the Sukkah. And just a word of warning: if, God forbid, you don’t feel at home, it’s not because you’re so sophisticated, because you are accustomed to better furniture. You better go into yourself and cry your eyes out: Master of the World, please cleanse my heart, let me feel at home with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.