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Home > Religion > Torah Talk for educators and parents

Torah Talk for educators and parents

"Remembering the Wilderness"
Shabbat/Sukkot, October 14-15, 2000 - 15-16 Tishrei 5761

Do you enjoy parties in a sukkah?
Ever stop to think about why we spend time in a sukkah?
Next time you enter a sukkah,
stop for a moment, and
remember the teachings about Sukkot in the Torah. presents a Torah portion write-up written for parents and teachers from the author of "The Really Fun Family Haggadah."

Special to

On Sukkot, the Festival of Booths, many of us build a sukkah (translation: booth or hut), decorate it with branches, leaves and other natural things, and enjoy the experience with family and friends. Many of us share a meal in a sukkah, some may even sleep in one. But how many of really stop to think of the sukkah's Biblical significance?

In the Torah reading for Sukkot, taken from Leviticus Chapters 22-23, God commands us to "live in booths for seven days... so that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel live in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt."

Note that the commandment is to live in the sukkah so "your generations" (children) remember how God made our ancestors live for forty years in the wilderness. It's a call to action - to actually live in the sukkah for seven days (not just one), so you are more likely to remember those times. Don't just think about it, do it. If you live it, you'll remember it.

While few of us will actually live in a sukkah for seven days, all of us can spend enough time in one to remember what God has done for our people. We can stop to remember how God freed our ancestors from slavery in Egypt, helped them survive forty years of severe heat, hunger and thirst in the wilderness, and brought the next generation of Israelites to the Promised Land.

And if you ever face your own personal wilderness, when life seems full of impossible challenges, remember that God will give you the strength to make your way through the difficult times to your own Promised Land. Remember the wilderness, feel God's strength.

Try these discussion starters at the Shabbat table or at school:
Can you imagine living in the wilderness for forty years? What do you think their sukkot looked like?
When times are tough, do you ever turn to God for strength? How do you usually make it through?

Larry Stein is the author of The Really Fun Family Haggadah, which can be ordered at Email Larry at

Copyright ©, 2000. May not be reproduced without written permission.

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