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Sukkot starts on Friday 29th, light candles at 6:04pm. On Saturday night, light candles after 7:02pm from a pre-existing flame. Yom Tov ends on Sunday night at 8:03pm. Move the clock forward for DST when appropriate.
Last days: Shmini Atzeret starts on Friday 6th, light candles at 7:10pm. On Saturday night, light candles after 8:09pm from a pre-existing flame for Simchat Torah. Yom Tov ends on Sunday night at 8:10pm.
Mincha at Ainsworth Property – 7/459 Collins St (North Tower), will resume after Sukkot at 1.45pm and we use the WhatsApp group to confirm numbers..
Thought of the Week with thanks to Jeremy Herz.
The medieval lawmaker Tur draws a parallel between the three festivals and the three forefathers. Pesach is associated with Avraham, Yitzchak with Shavuot and Yaakov with Succot. Following the reunion between Yaakov and his brother Esav, Esav continues to Seir, whilst Yaakov heads towards Succot. The Torah’s explanation for the name of this place is intriguing:
“But Yaakov journeyed to Succot and built himself a house (bayit), and for his livestock he made shelters (succot); he therefore called the name of the place Succot” (Bereishit 33:17)
Why is this place named after a shelter created for livestock? Surely, if that place was to be commemorated for Yaakov’s encampment, it would be named after the human dwelling, rather than that of the animals.
Yaakov’s life is very unsettled; he is constantly on the move. After leaving his parents’ home to escape Esav, the midrash tells us that Yaakov goes to the Torah Academy of Shem and Ever, where he studies without sleep for 14 years. He then journeys to the house of Betuel, his grandfather, to find a wife. Along the way, he sleeps on what he subsequently discovers is Har Hamoriah, the future location of the Temple. Upon arrival, Yaakov’s uncle Lavan deceives him and works him for 20 years, before he is able to return to Israel with his family.
The only time Yaakov builds for himself a quasi-permanent residence is in the above quoted verse – he builds a ‘bayit’. The irony is that at no other stage in his life does he have a permanent dwelling, but as he journeys to Israel and stops over for a few days in Succot, he sees fit to erect a residence. Not even a person with ordinary material expectations is likely to do such a thing.
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Herzka, in his work Ateret Tzvi, explains that Yaakov did this to transmit a lesson to his children. As much as we may seek to establish ourselves materially, the fruits of our labour are relatively fleeting. Fortunes come and go, and whilst material pleasures give us enjoyment, they pale in contrast to the eternal reward of spiritual pursuits.
This is the overriding theme of Succot. We construct temporary dwellings and leave the comfort of our homes. We commemorate the Jewish People’s travels through the desert, guided and guarded by the Cloud of Glory. We enter our succot and expose ourselves to the elements, placing our safety in the trust of G-d. Our regular standard of living is set aside for seven days to remind ourselves that in reality, our time in this world is just as temporary as the shack that stands above our heads. This is why Yaakov names the place, and is associated with the festival, Succot. It is not named after the succah built to shelter the animals; rather, it is named after the house Yaakov has constructed for his family, which in essence is also a temporary dwelling.