My good friend made a comment after shaking her 4 species* the other day. She said “What a silly mitzah. Not that doing it is silly, but you just feel so silly while you’re doing it.”
You kindof have to wonder what the rationale behind it is. Ok, we do it cuz God said so, but…why? It seems to me that succot comes in the fall. Ok, wait that didn’t come out right. It’s obvious that succot comes in the fall. It seems that the time of year is vitally signifigant to the underlying reason behind the mitzvah. Fall is the time of harvest. Many other cultures have harvest festials. In essense, succot is the time that we look at our produce and realize that it’s all from God. We have to take a moment from our excitement and thank God for allowing our crops to grow.
Untill recently, almost every society was highly dependant on agriculture. Most people either grew their own crops, or grew cash crops to sell, enabling them to buy other types of food to feed their families with. If the crops didn’t grow one year, you didn’t eat.
Nowadays, we have a somewhat different culture. We’re still dependant on agriculture, but not to the same extent. If florida has a bad year of Oranges, we can order from California instead. We may see tomatoes rise in price to over $3.00/pd., but we would never starve to death because of it. Thank God.
Today, we are much more dependant on business. I personally know day traders who committed suicide because the stock market went down that day. Our society is an economically minded one. We no longer care about the dividends of the field, rather, our interest is the dividends of the checkbook. With this in mind, maybe we can change the way we view sukkot.
Instead of thinking how silly it is that we are standing outside waving around a bunch of plants, we should imagine we are waving around our wallets, or laptop computers.
Succot is, in essence, a holiday of thanksgiving. Its the time where we look to God and say “Everything we have comes from you. Without Your graciousness, I wouldn’t have my cozy warm bed, or even my house. I wouldn’t have any food to eat, or money to buy food with. Thank You God, for providing me with sustenance.”
*It bothers me when people refer to the 4 species as “lulav and etrog”. What did the haddasim and aravot do that they don’t deserve to be included as well?