Written by: Rabbi Mordechai Raizman
In the Clouds
Tonight we begin sitting and eating in the Sukkah as we celebrate the holiday of Sukkos. One reason given for why we do this is to commemorate the Clouds of Glory that surrounded our ancestors while they traveled in the desert. The question arises – what lesson is there for us today that we should be thinking about as we sit and eat in the sukkah? It was a miracle then; what relevance is it for us today?
The Vilna Gaon shares a little background information that will help us understand this. He quotes the Chazal who tell us that after the sin of the golden calf, the Clouds of Glory disappeared. This disappearance of these clouds was G-d’s message to B’nei Yisroel of his displeasure with their actions. The removal of the clouds was G-d’s way of physically distancing himself from them. It wasn’t until Moshe pleaded with the B’nei Israel to do teshuvah and they complied that B’nei Yisroel was forgiven. This act of G-d’s forgiveness culminated on Yom Kippur when they received the second Luchos signifying that G-d and B’nei Yisroel were once again close. Immediately after the completion of this act, the Clouds of Glory returned which was right before the holiday of Sukkos.
Now, we can understand what we are commemorating. We are not recognizing the Clouds of Glory that were with B’nei Yisroel all those years in the desert. Rather, we are recognizing the ones that came back illustrating that we are once again close with G-d at this time of the year. May we all feel that special relationship throughout the coming year.