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Sukkot Stories

Sukkot Stories

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Rabbi Pinchas raised his eyes. There stood the first of the Ushpizin--the honored guest for the first night of the festival--outside the door of his sukkah...
The Angel Michael harnessed the horse to the wagon of mitzvot, and the wagon driver cracked his whip. Suddenly the wagon gave a lurch forward, flattening the piles of sins that had been obstructing its way...
The whole Holy Society were not able to rouse joy, and only a villager was able to do so?!
In the year 5679 (1918), in the wake of the first World War, there were no etrogim, for it was not possible to bring them from outside the country.
I was part of a group of prisoners that was being transported under heavy guard, and thus they led us on foot from city to city and village to village...
On the cosmic mitzvah scale there really is no difference if I make a blessing over my lulav-and-etrog set, or if that same set is used by a Jew on the streets of Brooklyn.... mitzvah = mitzvah, right?
"I couldn't contain my emotions. I began to cry... I had only meant to make the sukkah more beautiful!"
We danced and sang in the sukkah, the transformative rain a mikvah-like immersion in G‑d’s presence and will . . .
They were carrying branches and fruit. They wanted me to wave them in the air, to shake them in all directions. For G‑d. For world peace. For unity . . .
While I can say that I always loved the exotic palm scent that permeates the whole festival, always enjoyed the elbowing and squashing that comes with a sukkah packed to capacity, and the rainwater that cooled and diluted our soup, I can never say I treasured the sukkah—until this year . . .
My initial fear to shake the Four Kinds with others
As I approached my twenties, I was determined to overcome my shyness and have the chutzpah to approach people and ask if they would like to say a blessing on the Four Kinds, which the sages say bring unity to the Jewish people.
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. Yankel, a rabbi from the town of Zhuravitz, had made the 1,200-kilometer journey to bring some much-needed holiday cheer.
It was in Paris in the 1930s. Hitler had already risen to power in Germany. I was a student in the “City of Light,” and I was not having an easy time.
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