> Holidays > Sukkot > Themes & Insights

Finding Shelter in a Transient World

September 20, 2015 | by Debbie Gutfreund

Six points to think about as you sit in your sukkah.

We look for shelter in our possessions, but they can only give us temporary comfort. We seek reassurance from our jobs, but they can't really protect us from uncertainty. We turn to hobbies, people and places to fill the emptiness, but ultimately, our souls cannot be filled from the outside.

Sukkot gives us the opportunity to step back and find shelter for our souls, to fill ourselves up from the inside out and reconnect to the highest visions that we have for ourselves.

Here are six kinds of shelter we can find when we sit in our sukkahs.

  1. The shelter of faith. The Hebrew root for the word faith also means to be loyal, to stay committed to something even in difficult circumstances. We believe in God's wisdom and goodness through the light and the darkness. When we sit in the sukkah we can also feel embraced by God's faith in us. Every new day that we are given God is telling us: I have faith in you. I believe that you can re-build despite yesterday's mistakes. I'm giving you a new day, a new chance, because I'm not giving up on you.

  2. The shelter of gratitude. One of the reasons we sit in the sukkah is to remind ourselves of the "clouds of glory" that God used to guide us through the desert when we left Egypt. Each of us have different kinds of light in our lives that help us navigate through challenges. The light of our friends. The light of our Torah. The light of our homes. Recognize these gifts that light up your path. Surround yourself with gratitude.

  3. The shelter of connection. Bring friends and family into your sukkah. Learn from others and share what you have learned. Build and nurture the connections that you have with others in your life. Feel the embrace of the chain of kindness that redeems so much darkness; be another link in that chain.

  4. The shelter of authenticity. Close the gap between who you are and how you appear to the world around you. Don't be afraid to change in order to be truly aligned with your authentic values. Use the space of the sukkah to open the space within that wants to be free.

  5. The shelter of prayer. Talking to God is a constant in our lives. When we are lost and scared. When we are frustrated and disappointed. When we are joyous and grateful. When we are distracted and confused. Talk to God. Prayer is a shelter we can take with us everywhere and anytime.

  6. The shelter of awe. Look up at the millions of stars through the roof of your sukkah. Breathe in the crisp, autumn air. Watch the leaves turn gold and red and orange. Watch the trees teach us how to let go. See the stars teach us how to shine. Let the sukkah teach us how to find steadfast shelter rooted in God’s all-encompassing love.


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