The all-encompassing nature of the mitzvah of sukkahsymbolizes the all-encompassing bond between Jew and G‑d, a bond which expresses itself in everything a Jew does, mundane pursuits as well as Torah study and the observance of mitzvos.

During Sukkos, as during all the festivals of the month of Tishrei, the quintessence of the Jewish soul is revealed. Service to G‑d in this month is not confined to a person’s soul powers (intellectual or emotional) as in the rest of the year, but derives from a deeper source: the very essence of the soul, which transcends its particular powers.1 It is this essence which forms an indissoluble bond with G‑d’s Essence, a love between Jew and his Creator which can never be quenched.

“His right hand embraces me”

Love can be shown in various ways: speech, look, kiss, and embrace. The highest form is embrace, which displays a love so strong as to be incommunicable by any other means. Its unique feature, the Alter Rebbe writes, is that “one embraces the person on all sides, including from behind, and does not allow him to part from oneself.”2 All other expressions of love are directed only to the person’s front; the embrace encompasses the entire body, including the back.

The other types of love, moreover, are limited to the reception received, and will continue only if the love is reciprocated. If the proffered love is not returned, if it is spurned, it will quickly evaporate. Not so with an embrace, when one “does not allow him to part from oneself.” It is a love without limits, regardless of the recipient’s reaction. Even if the other should turn his back and desire to sever all relations, the love will remain unaffected, as strong as before.

Such a love exists between G‑d and Jews, and its revelation takes place on Sukkos, to which the verse “His right hand embraces me”3 is applied.4 The bond between a Jew’s essence and G‑d’s Essence is revealed on this festival, a bond so strong as to be unshakeable. Even if a Jew should not feel any love for G‑d and wishes to part from Him5 — he cannot: G‑d “embraces” him and does not allow him to leave. The bond between Jew and G‑d is inviolable.

Everything must be dedicated to G‑d

The revelation of this bond, G‑d’s “embrace” of Jews which takes place on Sukkos, is expressed in the mitzvah of sukkah. Every other mitzvah is associated with a particular limb of the person who performs it.6 The mitzvah of tefillin, for example, is done with the head and hand, while in Torah study, the brain and mouth are used. Sitting in a sukkah is the only mitzvah performed with one’s entire body, encompassing all one’s limbs from head to foot.

We can go further: The mitzvah of sukkah, our Sages say, is that “You shall dwell [in it] in the same manner as you ordinarily live.”7 One does not do anything special in the sukkah; one eats and drinks in the sukkah exactly as one does these things in the house the rest of the year. But when done in a sukkah, each of these ordinary actions becomes a mitzvah.

This parallels the idea expressed in the directives, “in all your ways you shall know Him”8 and “all your deeds should be for the sake of heaven.”9 Even “your ways” and “your deeds” — one’s personal affairs, not just mitzvos — should be devoted to G‑d. Since the bond between Jew and G‑d is all-encompassing, it must be expressed in everything a Jew does.10

Sukkos, and the mitzvah of sukkah in particular, emphasizes and brings to the fore this relationship between Jews and their Creator. It is the time when “His right hand embraces me” — even “from behind.” The “front” of a person symbolizes those things in which G‑dliness is evident: Torah study, prayer, and observance of mitzvos. “Behind” symbolizes one’s mundane, daily pursuits, which seem to lack any sanctity. On Sukkos, a Jew does even such things in the sukkah and thereby shows that G‑d embraces him even from “behind”; everything can be made holy, for G‑d is always with him and no parting is possible.

G‑d’s “embrace” on Sukkos is in force not just when Jews are actually in the sukkah. The Talmud states that “Any person who does not have a house is not a complete person.”11 The distinction conferred by a house applies not just when the person is actually in the house but even when he is outside, for as long as he has a house in which to dwell, his connection to it remains constant. On Sukkos, a person’s dwelling is the sukkah,12 and therefore during this festival it is the sukkah which makes one a complete person. It thus follows that on Sukkos, even when one is not actually in the sukkah his connection to it remains — he is still enveloped in G‑d’s “embrace.” No other mitzvah possesses such properties.

Sukkah unites Jews

Because the sukkah reveals the essence of the soul, it also works as a force for unity. Differences between Jews exist only externally, in the intellect and emotions. In the soul’s essence no such divisions exist; there, all Jews are one. This, too, is expressed by the mitzvah of sukkah, as our Sages have said:13 “All Israel are worthy to dwell in one sukkah.” The sukkah resembles the clouds of glory which protected the Jews in the desert.14 Just as all Jews were surrounded equally by the clouds, with no difference between the more or less righteous, so all Jews are equal in regard to the sukkah.

In truth, all the festivals of Tishrei reveal the essence of a Jew. The blowing of the shofar on Rosh HaShanah, for example, symbolizes the soul’s cry to G‑d, a cry that testifies that though a Jew may presently be removed from G‑dliness because of his sins, his essence nevertheless remains whole and devoted to G‑d. A Jew’s innate longing to be close to his Father, and his distress at his low spiritual state, cannot be articulated; it can only express itself in a heartfelt cry, symbolized by the simple blast of the shofar. And because the bond between Jew and G‑d is always in force, G‑d redeems him from his miserable state, enabling him to transcend the material and live with the spiritual.

But the bond revealed in the mitzvah of sukkah is loftier yet. It is not expressed through transcending the corporeal world, but rather, a Jew’s relationship with G‑d, represented by the sukkah, is manifest even in one’s personal, mundane pursuits — in “your deeds” and in “your ways.” Also then a Jew is in G‑d’s “embrace” — and his deeds are performed for the sake of heaven and G‑d is known in all his ways.

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. II, pp. 417-418