Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “Peace sacrifices.”

“Assembly, meeting, and reunification characterize Sukkot.

Within ourselves we unite the scattered fragments of our identity, and at the Temple in Jerusalem there were seventy sacrifices to unite the scattered nations.

These were called peace sacrifices.

Peace, shalom, is wholeness, or shlemut. The seventy sacrifices at the Temple were aimed at bringing men together, and restoring the wholeness of humankind in a broken, disunited world.

Sukkot ends with another form of wholeness, since on Simchat Torah we complete the Torah readings.

Fulfillment only comes with tranquility and peace.

Unbridled, unrestrained joy only comes in fulfillment.

Sukkot is the only holiday that is called the ‘time of our rejoicing’ because all the forms of fulfillment are granted simultaneously — earthly wealth, the concluding portion of the Torah, the uniting of the nations.

We are filled with an extraordinary sense of well-being.

Seated in the sukkah, we live in perfect harmony in the shadow of God, echoing the verse in the Song of Songs:‘I delight to sit in His shade.’ (2:3)

When I welcome the Seven Shepherds in my sukkah, I attain supreme harmony.

An invitation implies a willingness to receive.

By opening my door to the Shepherds I open the door of my being and say that I am ready to receive that part of my being that is in them.

I say to each, ‘Enter within me with all you have to give and receive, with all that there is of me in you.’ “

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

From “The Three Pilgrim Festivals” p. 277-278, in The Seven Lights by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz