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Aseret Yimai Teshuva Dvar Torah

Every year, we ask why the majority of holidays are concentrated in the month of Tishrei rather than being distributed more evenly throughout the year. Sukkot's energies and themes are considerably different from those of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur must be observed before we can completely appreciate the Sukkot holiday. Together, these two opposites provide a clearer picture of how Hashem and human experience interact. Additionally, the entire point of the atonement is to bring us closer together via Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret, the holidays during which God asks His children to stay with Him for another day.


The ten days of repentance from Rosh Hashana to Yom Kippur are symbolized by the left hand. The eighth day of Sukkot concludes with the union, which is represented by the right hand. The celebration of Sukkot, the somewhat unrelated Shir Hashirim, and the loving component of Sukkot are all connected.


- "ושְׂמֹאלוֹ֙ תַּ֣חַת לְרֹאשִׁ֔י וִֽימִינ֖וֹ תְּחַבְּקֵֽנִי”

“His right hand would embrace me while his left hand was under my head.”


Literally, the Shir Hashirim is a love letter from a shepherd to his love. However, it serves as a metaphor for the bond between Israel and God/the Torah. The embrace could be interpreted as a representation of the glorious clouds that shielded and covered the Jews as they traveled over the desert to Israel.


Sukkot is the right hand hugging the loved one, while Yom Kippur is the left hand supporting the head of the loved one. Sukkot therefore represents God's love for Israel.


Additionally, the rabbinic law requires that a sukkah must at the very least have two complete walls and one half wall. It is written in Shir Hashirim, "His right arm embraces me." The Aritzal points out that the minimum dimensions of a sukkah represent a hug. Through the sukkah, God's arm encircles us. God's arm, forearm, and hand can all be compared to the first wall, second wall, and third little wall, respectively. The walls hug each other and encircle us. We communicate our deepest understandings of Hashem, as well as our own needs and highest selves, through the use of imagery and metaphors.


Good Shabbos, Chagim Sameachim, and have a meaningful Yom Kippur!



By: Adina Shagalov (9th)


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