Tonight marks the beginning of Sukkot, the Fall Festival when we are commanded to reside in the Sukkah. This custom provides us with an opportunity to relive the experiences our ancestors as they wandered through the wilderness living in temporary dwellings. This year in Houston, this ancient custom seems a bit ironic, as so many folks are already living in temporary abodes.
Our time in the sukkah this year should therefore take on an additional level of meaning. For those who flooded, the sukkah can help us remember the more joyous aspects of the forces of nature, and for those who were spared, the sukkah can help us gain a sense of empathy for those whose dwellings are temporary.
Regardless of how Harvey may have hit us, Sukkot invites all of 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 during the festival):
“. . . there is no better thing under the sun than for one to eat, drink and be joyful.” (Ecclesiastes 8:15).