Recently in Holidays
Beginning Wednesday night, September 18th, the Jewish holiday of Sukkot begins. During the week-long holiday, Jews build a special kind of home to dwell in for the week, called a sukkah. The sukkah is a deliberately temporary house, which can have no more than one permanent wall, and whose roof must be open to the sky, covered only partially by natural materials such as branches. The sukkah is a strange sort of dwelling, and yet, it is so important, that we use it every Friday night on Shabbat, as a metaphor for peace, asking that God, "spread over us a sukkah of Your peace." May this year's sukkah be a sukkat shalom, a sukkah of peace, and may we merit to build our house - Israel- from peace.
Early Israelis were filled with pride in 1958 when a monumental effort to dry the Houla wetlands was completed. For seven years, under Syrian shelling that claimed the lives of forty people, Israeli and British engineers dried more than 15,000 acres of marshes, hoping to secure a vast piece of land for agriculture. Drying the Houla wetland was perceived at the time as the purest, boldest manifestation of the Zionist ethos of kibush ha-shmamah ("Conquering the Wilderness").
Each year at Passover, Jews read this line in the haggadah, "In every generation a person is obligated to see themselves as if they had left Egypt." Why? Because each of us should understand that in our generation, just as in our ancestors' generation, the status quo is not inevitable. The pharaohs of Egypt thought themselves gods, considered themselves invincible, and believed that their power could not be overthrown.