If you happened to have gazed into the sky on Saturday or Sunday night this past weekend, you would have notice a blindingly bright full moon. It was enormous; it was magnificent, and it was the perfect moon to help remind us of some central concepts surrounding the Festival of Sukkot.
Sukkot, along with the other two Jewish Harvest Festivals (Passover and Shavuot) begins on the full moon, and this is for a reason. For our ancestors, this bright orb in the night sky provided much needed light as they made their way to Jerusalem to offer their sacrifices.
While we may not see the moon in the same light as our ancestors, we can certainly appreciate its beauty. For us today, we can use the lunar aspects of Sukkot as a way to appreciate the rhythms of nature. The sukkah (booth) that we erect each year is designed specifically to enable us to immerse ourselves in the natural world and see ourselves as part of grand network that pulses with divinity.
Sukkot also invites us to celebrate our place in cycles of life and encourages us to live according to the following passage from the Book of Ecclesiastes (which is the book of the Bible we read on Sukkot): “. . . there is no better thing under the sun than for one to eat, drink and be joyful.” (Ecclesiastes 8:15).
Sukkot is a festival filled with remarkable wisdom. From the fall structures we construct to the nature-based rituals we perform, Sukkot helps us recognize that we are all part of something much greater than ourselves. As complex as life can often seem, Sukkot reminds that the simple pleasures are what matter most.