What Do the Mitzvot of Dwelling In Israel and Dwelling In a Sukkah Have in Common?

In Tehillim (Psalms) 76:3 we read: “Vayehi viShalem Suko, umeonato viTzion”, In Shalem also is His Sukkah and His dwelling place is in Tzion.

Use Your Whole Body

The Vilna Gaon points out that the mitzvah of dwelling in the succa and the mitzvah of Tzion, dwelling in the Land of Israel, have something very special in common. When you perform these mitzvot, you enter into them with your entire being, with your entire spirit and with your entire body – even with your shoes.

In the same way that the mitzva of succa is “ta’aseh”, you must personally do it (as opposed to something that is done for you), so too is the mitzva of dwelling in the Land of Israel, you must personally live there and build it up, it is not something that can be done for you.

Why, then, is the mitzva of dwelling in the succa more widespread than the mitzva of dwelling in the Land of Israel?

Israel Flag on FlagpoleIt is a lot easier to pick yourself up and say “for this week I will be eating and sleeping in an alternate home without all of the comforts that I am used to (sort of like going camping or going on vacation). It is another thing to pick up your entire life and move away from your home, your friends, your family, your career, etc.

However, think of what a privilege it is to live in a country where your entire being, your entire spirit and your entire body are involved in mitzvot just by dwelling there. In Israel, we don’t have to wait for Succot to have that form of experience (maybe that is why we get two less days of Yom Tov!)

Rabbanit Sharona Margolin Halickman Rabbanit Sharona Margolin Halickman was the first Congregational Intern and Madricha Ruchanit at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, NY. After making aliya in 2004, Sharona founded Torat Reva Yerushalayim, a non-profit organization based in Jerusalem that provides Torah study groups for students of all ages and backgrounds. Rabbanit Halickman is a member of Beit Hillel.

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