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  ISRAEL    
 
 
  SUKKOT  
 
MACCABI WORLD UNION, DESCRIPTION & IDEOLOGY, BY RABBI CARLOS A. TAPIERO Succot: the value of all things that fill our lives
By: Rabbi Carlos A. Tapiero, Carlos@maccabiworld.org
Deputy Director-General
Maccabi World Union, www.maccabiworld.org
 

RABBI CARLOS TAPIERO, MWU DEPUTY - DIRECTOR GENERAL & DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION

 

 

 

Kfar Maccabiah, October 2014

 Succot: the value of all things that fill our lives

 

Dear friends,

 

Searching for meaningful Succot material, I came across an elaborate Chassidic story. I found the opening paragraphs instructive and edifying, and I was moved by them, so here they are:

 

"A very, very poor chassid (pupil, follower) of the Karlin Rabbi dwelt in a tiny and rundown house in a small shtetl. This chassid was known to everyone in town for his complete happiness despite his poverty, and his happiness was infectious.

Every year on the eve of Succot, this humble chassid, much too poor to buy materials from which to construct a succah[1], waited for everyone to finish constructing their 'huts'. Then he would walk through the little shtetl and ask people for any unused, spare or rejected materials - rusty nails, broken wooden slats - anything that he might use to build his own succah. So each year, the poor Karliner chassid constructed and lived for 7 days with joy - real joy! - in his own succah, singing, smiling and enjoying the company of all his loved ones."

 

Two aspects of this small and simple story are definitely instructive. Today, an era where success is measured by the size of accumulated capital, and happiness is often related to money, this poor chassid testifies to us that happiness does not depend on wealth. Also, in terms of how we relate to everything that exists, the story teaches much of how we assess the value of what surrounds us; so often, we scorn things, especially, but not only in times of prosperity.

 

In connection with this last point and in regard to Succot (the Festival starting this Wednesday evening), this chassid was able to build his succah "with what was left over" by others - with things that had no value to others. The chassid could see what most people no longer could. He knew to build with what others rejected; he understood the value of everything that exists; he interacted with the world, humbly acknowledging the daily miracle of life, in all its aspects.

 

By his simple actions, our chassid sends a tender, happy and powerful message to us for this Succoth: it is always possible to construct our temporary and permanent "buildings" by appreciating all the gifts of life - even by using the circumstances, opportunities, the "things" rejected by others. It is possible to perceive the value in everything; we can restore our ability to appreciate everything around us, everything we have, everything that makes up our daily existence; at every moment, we have the opportunity to transform the "building of our succah" into a production that combines what others have to give, lifting what others discard into a place devoted to family, friends, and the warmth of those who are important to us. "The succah of the spirit" is a fusion of all that others give us, a succah which represents the value of all that exists, a venue for reflection and appreciation of gratitude and joy, transformed - like our humble chassid's succah - by songs and happiness to a place of joy.

 

May God grant that our succah is erected in the assessment of all the components of our lives, taking nothing for granted, combining all the pieces everybody can and wants us to give us to spread joy, dialogue, warm gatherings...

the celebration of life itself.

 

May God grant that we celebrate the joy of Succot in our action;
a joy to translate goals into achievements, dreams into realities.

 

 May God inspire us to realize that joy is a constructive force

capable of transforming the world, beginning with our nearest and dearest, then spreading and multiplying the joy of all our People.


And May God find us on this Succot

happier and more complete because richer in achievements,

joyously celebrating the countless opportunities of our daily lives.

 

With best wishes,

Chag Succot Sameach!

Chazak ve'ematz!

 

RABBI CARLOS TAPIERO

Deputy Director-General &

Director of Education



[1]During the Festivity of Succot, we are ordered to dwell in booths - the very fragile succot - for seven days - Vaikrah (Leviticus) XXIII, 42. Moreover, we are supposed to consider the succah as our fixed dwelling for those days - Babylonian Talmud, Succot 28b.



 
   
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