Even before this year’s pandemic, Lakeside attendance for Sukkot has been light. Some of this is understandable. By the end of Yom Kippur, the High Holidays have left many of us in an enervated state. Too much shul already!
But it is a little sad. The commandment to sit in your sukkah and have a meal as you look up into the starry night is one of the best commandments HaShem has come up with.
The Israelites had spent a lifetime wandering around the arid desert, kvetching, and eating the tasteless mana to sustain themselves. When the Israelites complained about not having any meat, HaShem responded by making them sick to their stomachs as they gobbled down the first meat they had tasted in quite some time.
With the return to Canaan, the land of milk and honey, the Israelites now had a home and a fuller diet. Sukkot celebrates the harvest and tacked to our sukkah are various fruits and vegetables, over which we say blessings. Plus, having atoned for missing the mark during Yom Kippur, in our purified state we sigh with deep contentment as we eat in our sukkah.
We cannot enjoy our sukkah this year, of course, for health reasons, but that needn’t stop our celebration of the harvest altogether. Erev Sukkot, the first night of Sukkot, falls on this Friday, when we can augment our usual brief Shabbat service with a celebration of the harvest.
When you shop this week, pick up a fruit or vegetable and bring it to the Friday Zoom service. Bring especially those fruits and vegetables that are indigenous to Mexico. Then we can say blessings over them in gratitude to God, who, despite everything, makes the harvest possible.