In our home, Children’s Tapes are very important. More than anything else, we kick off the holiday season with the familiar sounds of certain Children’s Tapes being played. Of course there are certain tapes which seem to be played all year round. [Last week I had to keep reminding our younger children that it is not almost Purim even though they can’t get enough of ‘The Purim Story’. “Avi, tomorrow is Rosh Hashana, can we put away the Purim tape?” “Okay Abba, put on the ‘Baruch learns about Pesach’ one.
This all helps you appreciate why I am so vexed that there aren’t too many Succot Children’s tapes. We have a tape of Rabbi Alter singing Succot songs, but that’s about it. When Baruch finished learning about Pesach and his berachos, why didn’t anyone teach him about Succot? When Yanky finished learning about Shabbos and Pesach why didn’t Zaydey teach him about a succah? And why couldn’t there be an ‘Incredible esrog of Feitel von Zetrog’? Why can’t Kivi and Tuki go to visit Uncle Moishy’s Succah? [Please note that if you are not familiar with contemporary Children’s Tapes you may not know what I am talking about. You also don’t know what you’re missing!] I’m sure soon Lipa will have some video singing ‘Hayp oif dayne hentelach in der succah ubber not when you’re holding your lulav and esrog’.
The truth is that the message of Succot is so important, especially in our day and age, and it is unfortunately not spoken about enough. In fact, I remember a friend of mine commenting to me when we were about twelve years old that he would be willing to bet that many children our age have no idea why we celebrate Succot. What a tragedy!
Succot is a celebration of the belief that G-d controls and directs every facet of our lives. We think our homes, finances, cars, and prestige protect us. But in truth it is G-d who provides shelter, protection, and comfort in our lives. We leave our alarm-secured homes, to sit in a flimsy succah under the stars, to ingrain within us that ultimately it is only G-d who watches over us. During the same holiday we wave the Four Species in all six directions to symbolize that it is G-d who controls the ‘winds of the world’, which symbolically includes everything that occurs in the world.
There are many deeper meanings and explanations of the profundity and depth of the succah and Four Species, but we need to remind ourselves of the simple understanding of the holiday: that we must place our faith and trust in G-d. That is the reason for the intense joy during this unique holiday.
It is a lesson that we must not only teach our children, but that we need to remind ourselves of constantly.
It is only after spending a week with that focus in mind that we can remove the Torah Scrolls from the holy Ark to dance with them, with unbridled love and passion, in the presence of the One who gave us the Torah.
I conclude by sharing with you a memo that I was told is hanging in Home Depot: “To all of our Jewish patrons, please note that the thing that attaches to the thing, which looks like the thing in your garage, will not be available until after the holiday.” [And for those of you who are asking - no, there is not really such a sign hanging in Home Depot.]
Hey, maybe next year they’ll release a tape about the opening of the new Home Depot on Torah Island, just in time for Succot. I hope Yanky Strudel doesn’t land on the s’chach.
By Rabbi Dani Staum
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