Aaron Fineberg, a recent graduate of Brandeis University in Waltham, MA, just began a new job as the Development Assistant at the American Society for Yad Vashem (Israel’s Holocaust Museum), in New York. Last summer he had the best summer of his life as Rosh Solelim. Reflections on Sukkot by Aaron Fineberg

As I read the Torah passage  for the first day of Sukkot (Leviticus 23:40-44, see below) commanding us to live in a temporary dwelling and rejoice, I am reminded of our beloved days at camp.  Many of us not only eat meals in the sukkah but sleep there as well.  The chilly temperatures in the sukkah even remind me of those cold June days at camp!

In our tzrifim (cabins) our amazing madrichim (counselors) and campers build wonderful temporary homes.  We connect with the beautiful surroundings of Wisconsin’s Northwoods. We sing, dance, laugh and celebrate for eight joyful weeks.  Our camp friends become as close as family members.  It is that connection between camp and Sukkot which runs the deepest for me.

I wish everyone a Moadim l’Simcha, a joyous holiday with family and friends.  And for those of us who are rooting for it, may we soon celebrate together a Sukkot miracle, the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series.  Hag Sameach!

מ  וּלְקַחְתֶּם לָכֶם בַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן, פְּרִי עֵץ הָדָר כַּפֹּת תְּמָרִים, וַעֲנַף עֵץ-עָבֹת, וְעַרְבֵי-נָחַל; וּשְׂמַחְתֶּם, לִפְנֵי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם–שִׁבְעַת יָמִים. 40 And you shall take for yourselves on the first day [of the holiday] the fruit of a beautiful tree, branches of palm-trees, and boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before Adonai your God for seven days.
מא  וְחַגֹּתֶם אֹתוֹ חַג לַיהוָה, שִׁבְעַת יָמִים בַּשָּׁנָה:  חֻקַּת עוֹלָם לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם, בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי תָּחֹגּוּ אֹתוֹ. 41 And you shall keep it, a feast to the Adonai, for seven days each year; forever for your offspring it is a rule: in the seventh month you will celebrate it.
מב  בַּסֻּכֹּת תֵּשְׁבוּ, שִׁבְעַת יָמִים; כָּל-הָאֶזְרָח, בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל, יֵשְׁבוּ, בַּסֻּכֹּת. 42 You shall dwell in booths [sukkot] for seven days; all citizens of Israel shall dwell in booths;
מג  לְמַעַן, יֵדְעוּ דֹרֹתֵיכֶם, כִּי בַסֻּכּוֹת הוֹשַׁבְתִּי אֶת-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, בְּהוֹצִיאִי אוֹתָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם:  אֲנִי, יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם. 43 So that your descendants may know that in booths I sheltered the children of Israel, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am Adonai your God.
מד  וַיְדַבֵּר מֹשֶׁה, אֶת-מֹעֲדֵי יְהוָה, אֶל-בְּנֵי, יִשְׂרָאֵל. 44 And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the appointed seasons of Adonai.