The Genius Of Sukkot

Sukkot is a magnificent holiday. It involves building, dwelling outdoors, recalls the harvest, a journey through the ages and a memory of the desert sky. Right after Yom Kippur, with its ethereal echoes, it returns us to the earth.

Sukkot is the Jewish enactment of low-hanging fruit. It is a reason to invite your friends and neighbors over, without the bother of having to clean your house (before or after!). And you have a place to put up all those cards and kids’ drawings. Genius.

The sukkah is a mitzvah you can do with your entire body. Even better, the mitzvah involves eating. Weather permitting, it is as though the tradition enabled us to visit a resort and called it a commandment.

When my brothers and I were little, we went “sukkah hopping,” which means that we walked from sukkah to sukkah in our neighborhood and ate brownies and cookies (and maybe a grape). Years later I saw the movie “The Swimmer,” based on the John Cheever story about a man who, in a leafy suburb, swims neighborhood pools from house to house. I recognized the theme, but we had it better; no exertion. It was Sukkot — we only had to smile, bless and eat. Chag Sameach.

Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. Follow his teachings at

About the Author
Named the most influential Rabbi in America by Newsweek Magazine and one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by the Jerusalem Post, David Wolpe is the Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, California.