In the desert, God built us sukkot to protect us from the elements. In Ledavid Hashem Ori Veyishi, the Psalm we have been reciting since the beginning of Elul, we say that God hides us in a sukkah on a bad day. The sukkah is the feeling we have of having God around us to protect us and guide us and weather the weather with us.
In the desert, God built our sukkah, but today we build our own sukkah. Indeed, we have spent the past month and a half building it. It is made of our prayers and repentance; it is woven out of our desire to be close to God – our statement of ahat sha’alti – one thing I desire and it is to dwell in God’s house. Out of these words, this song of the soul, this yearning, is indeed built a kind of sukkah, a place for us to dwell where we may feel God’s presence and protection.
The sukkah does not come out of thin air. People often complain – I would pray, but I don’t believe in God. The order is the opposite – one comes to believe in God through the very act of praying. You have to construct your own sukkah in this life, your own sacred space where you help yourself feel the divine. It is just as much work as the physical act of building that hut. And that is the work we have been doing these past weeks.
Sukkot is the holiday where we say – You built your sukkah; now live in it! In other words – you have worked so hard on this relationship; now enjoy it and live in it. Live in it now and carry it with you through the year. Reap the harvest.