Torah Academy of Buffalo Grove Jewish Day School Registration
A Message in the Clouds
I'm sitting at my computer, trying to recall the English name for Chag haSukkot, and it's not coming to me. Finally, I give up and ask Professor Google.
It's the Holiday of Sukkoth. Duh. (What happened to the holiday of Tabernacles?)
But that doesn't really explain what the holiday is. I guess to understand the essence of the holiday, we need to check out the Hebrew name. In Hebrew, Sukkot means "huts". We're celebrating huts? Well, sorta! Here's the story behind this beautiful, lesser-known Jewish holiday.
Once upon a time, approximately three thousand, three hundred years ago, the Jews were traveling through the desert after the Exodus from Egypt, heading towards the Holy Land of Israel. Naturally, G-d did not want the Children of Israel to be suffering from the heat, bugs, and general intensity of the desert, so He did us a miraculous favor. G-d surrounded us on all sides - even under our feet - with heavenly clouds. These clouds shielded us from the sun, protected us from desert bugs, and smoothed out the ground so it was easy to walk. They were reminiscent of huts! To remember this great miracle, we celebrate by living in a hut for seven days and remembering G-D's Divine Providence.
That's nice, but there must be a deeper message to gain that is relevant in our times. Let's look at the story in a slightly different light: Three thousand years ago, the Jews were traveling through a hostile environment. All around them were snakes, scorpions, burning heat, and tough mountains to climb. To protect them, G-d created a shelter, physical and spiritual, to make it possible to face the world without getting scorched or lost.
Hmm... This seems to me like a good parable for our daily lives. We live in a tough environment, spiritually speaking. Our spirituality and morality are called into question simply by walking outside. The constant stream of media invades our lives and subtly (or not so subtly) implants values into our hearts that don't vibe with the Torah. Violence, foul language, and immorality are common phenomena in our world daily. It's constant and it's everywhere. We need shelter, G-d. We need a strategy for how to live in our present-day world, face our struggles, and yet retain our moral compass with strong Torah-true values.
It starts with Jewish education. Jewish day schools provide a child with the armor they need to travel through the world with a value-based perspective. Children experience a dual curriculum of general and Judaic studies, co-curricular classes and character refinement. Enrolling your child in an authentic Torah school means providing your child with an opportunity to live a Torah life. In a Torah day school, the emphasis is not on how millions over the millennia died because they were Jews, which they do learn and know, but rather the focus is on how to be worldly, be Jewish and live Judaism! Their Jewish identity is upbeat, proud and happy in their hearts, actions and thoughts. Empowered with the knowledge of Torah, the children can navigate the world within the shelter ( or sukkah!) of Judaism and remain committed to living a Jewish life and to nurturing generations with a real Jewish future, while they navigate the desert.
On Sukkot, we're celebrating by building huts and we're also celebrating something so much deeper. Back in the desert, G-d was setting a precedent for the Jewish people. There was a message in the clouds. When one is faced with hostile conditions, simply surround yourself on all sides with G-dliness. In a world like ours, those spiritual shelter-clouds are necessary. Sending your Jewish child to a Jewish day school is a gift that allows your child to navigate the world in a spiritually healthy way.
Chag Sameach and Happy Sukkoth to ALL - including Professor Google!
For more information on Jewish Day School Programming in your area please contact:
Torah Academy of Buffalo Grove
Administrative Assistant, Teacher
720 Armstrong Drive
Buffalo Grove, IL 60089