Sunday, October 04, 2009

Sukkot note

At dinner on Friday night, this lady guest mentioned how special the sukkah was, being the only mitzvah that a person is "surrounded by" and "inside".

I was tempted, but refrained from replying that there is another such mitzvah: yishuv eretz yisrael.

Later on, the same woman proudly mentioned how great her community was for refusing to sleep in the sukkah, because it was "too holy" for anything as mundane as sleeping.

This time I really should have replied, saying "That may have been true in Eastern Europe. But here in Israel there is holiness everywhere, not just in the sukkah. If holiness was a reason not to sleep then we couldn't sleep anywhere in Israel. So clearly it is not an impediment." And maybe, for good measure, I should have mentioned Shmuel Alef 3:3 where it says that Shmuel was sleeping in the Temple. Since the sukkah is so closely related to the Temple (think "ananei hakavod", "sukkat david hanofalet"), that should have proved the case that sleeping in the sukkah is OK.

But again, partly out of politeness and partly out of lack of confidence in my Hebrew (or both together - it's easier to simply make yourself understood than to do so politely), I refrained from commenting.

It's great to be able to refute people on their terms as well as on objective terms. But it's a little frustrating when such a chance comes up and for whatever reason you don't take it.


Ari E-B said...

What a coincidence - I went to a chabad shul on Friday night (I got home about 2 minutes before hag, and the chabad shul is half a block away and fantastic when you're running late). The rabbi gave a short dvar torah where he began by mentioning that sukkah was the only mitzvah we could do outside of Israel where a person's whole body is surrounded by the mitzvah, with the other one of course being yishuv eretz yisrael. A few other listeners pointed out later that mikvah should also count, although the rabbi tried to dismiss it by pointing out that it is only a mitzvah for women, so sukkah and yishuv are the only ones that apply to us men.

Beisrunner said...

It's a popular subject :)