The Succah: A Total Mitzvah

Question

Hi, is there something unique about doing the mitzvah of living in a succah during the holiday of Succot?

3 weeks

Answers

  1. It is said in the name of the Vilna Gaon that there are only two opportunities among all the 613 mitzvahs for a person to physically “enter the mitzvah.” One is the opportunity to live in the Land of Israel, and the other is to be in the succah that is constructed for the Festival of Succot. When a person crosses the border into Israel or walks into the succah, he has “entered” the mitzvah.

    If these are the only two mitzvahs when a person “enters” the mitzvah, it must be that there is a special connection between them. What is this special connection between the succah and the Land of Israel?

    Judaism is unique to the world in that Jewish national and religious destinies are identical. The concept of a successful Jewish nation in the Land of Israel is fundamental to our religious destiny. Other nations have holy places and live elsewhere, but for us, our land is our home, our holy soil and the necessary setting for the ideal fulfillment of mitzvahs. Accordingly, the Torah includes both civil and religious law, instructing us in our everyday behavior and our acts of worship, both of which are equally holy. The way we live in the Land is part of our service to God. This is the reason why the first decisions that Joshua made when the Jewish nation entered the Land of Israel were for urban planning, as these “civil laws” were of equal importance to their spiritual lives in the transportation of the Holy Ark.

    Living in Israel gives the Jewish people the opportunity to sanctify every little act that they do, Jewishly. Merely going to the corner store to buy a carton of milk is part of the fulfillment of the Jewish destiny when it is done in the Land of Israel. Similarly, during the festival of Succos a person has a chance to make every little act he does a holy act by being in the succah. Eating a delicious meal or even sleeping in the succah is a mitzvah, a symbol of the total fulfillment of God’s plan for the Jewish people.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team