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Sieben Tage sollt ihr in Laubhütten wohnen.
(Levitikus/Wajikra 23,42)

Am fünfzehnten Tag des siebten Monats, wenn ihr den Ertrag des Landes erntet, feiert sieben Tage lang ein Fest für Gott...
Sieben Tage lang sollt ihr in Hütten wohnen. Alle Einheimischen in Israel sollen in Hütten wohnen, damit eure kommenden Generationen wissen, dass ich die Kinder Israels in Hütten wohnen ließ, als ich sie aus Ägypten herausführte - ich, der Ewige, bin euer Gott.
(Lev 23,39.42-43)

Gedanken zu Sukkot:
Israel und die Völker

Am 15. Tag des siebten Monats sollt ihr eine heilige Versammlung halten. An diesem Tag sollt ihr keine schwere Arbeit verrichten, sondern ein Fest für Gott feiern, sieben Tage lang. Ihr sollt ein Brandopfer darbringen... von dreizehn jungen Stieren. Am zweiten Tag zwölf junge Stiere. ...Am dritten Tag elf junge Stiere... Am vierten Tag zehn junge Stiere... Am fünften Tag neun junge Stiere... Am sechsten Tag acht junge Stiere... Am siebten Tag sieben junge Stiere...

(Numeri 29,12-32)

Israels Opferdienst an Sukkot, wo siebzig junge Stiere geopfert wurden, geschah um der Nationen willen. Als der Tempel zerstört wurde, litten deshalb auch die Nationen darunter und verloren ein Sühnemittel.

(Sukka 55b)

Sukkot erinnert uns daran, dass Israel eine spezielle Aufgabe in der Welt hat, die jedoch aufs Engste verbunden ist mit dem Schicksal anderer Völker. Sukkot wird zum universalsten unserer Feste, und darin spiegelt sich die prophetische Sicht wider: "Wer übrig bleiben wird von allen Völkern, die gegen Jerusalem gezogen sind, wird Jahr für Jahr hinaufsteigen, um den Ewigen, den Gott aller Schöpfung, zu verehren und das Laubhüttenfest zu feiern" (Sach 14,16).

(Jonathan Magonet / Lionel Blue)

The Sukkah Looks Outward as Well as Inward:
Sukkot as an Expression of Universalism

Isn’t it remarkable how often we come across a Jew who chooses to observe very few traditional practices, who finds little meaning or attraction in kashrut or Shabbat or daily prayer, but who nevertheless has a mezuzah by his or her door? In Israel, it is not at all uncommon to see supposedly "non-religious" (that is, non-Orthodox) Jews kiss their hand and raise it to touch the mezuzah as they pass in or out of a doorway. The power of this symbolic invocation of the "Guardian of Israel’s doors" is greater than we have rational reason to expect...
weiter http://www.wzo.org.il

Quelle / Literatur:
© Seder haTfiloth - [Bestellen?]

KM. Olitzky, R.H. Isaacs, Kleines 1x1 Jüdischen Lebens

Chajim H. Donin, Jüdisches Gebet heute, Morascha, Zürich 1986
Weitere Informationen zu Sukoth

Zum Inhaltsverzeichnis: Gebete
Zum Inhaltsverzeichnis: Jahaduth

Sukkot as an Expression of Universalism:
The Sukkah Looks Outward
as Well as Inward

Provided by Ta Shma, this series of articles explores Sukkot as a holiday which either expresses the univeralistic or the particularistic nature of Judsaism >> see http://www.wzo.org.il

Isn’t it remarkable how often we come across a Jew who chooses to observe very few traditional practices, who finds little meaning or attraction in kashrut or Shabbat or daily prayer, but who nevertheless has a mezuzah by his or her door? In Israel, it is not at all uncommon to see supposedly "non-religious" (that is, non-Orthodox) Jews kiss their hand and raise it to touch the mezuzah as they pass in or out of a doorway. The power of this symbolic invocation of the "Guardian of Israel’s doors" is greater than we have rational reason to expect.

All the more remarkable, then, is the realization that there is a time when all Jews are supposed to live someplace without a mezuzah. At Sukkot, we are bidden by the Torah to exit from the much-vaunted Jewish home, subject of so many rabbis’ sermons, and to make our home among those whose dwellings leave them exposed to the wider world and its elements. The sukkah is a temporary dwelling, and it would be inaccurate and inappropriate to distinguish it from the temporary dwellings of any other people by placing a mezuzah on the doorpost at its entrance.

Of course, we do bring with us into our sukkot many of the accoutrements of our Jewish practices and observances. Our sukkot are replete with kiddush cups, hallah covers and decorations that celebrate the presence of our biblical forebears as guests (ushpizin) in the sukkah. But within the sukkah, and in the public observances of Sukkot in the synagogue and the ancient Temple in Jerusalem, Jews pay at least as much attention to the needs of humanity at large as to those of Am Yisrael.

Water

As a boy, I memorized a quatrain by Robert Louis Stevenson: "The rain is raining all around. / It falls on you and me. / It falls on the umbrellas here / And on the ships at sea." Rainfall, when it occurs, is not discriminating about whose homes, fields or orchards it soaks. Even in antiquity, Eretz Yisrael had many, many non-Jewish inhabitants, and rainfall meant a blessing of sustenance for all the country’s inhabitants, Jews and non-Jews alike.

One focus of the Sukkot holiday, at the beginning of the Middle Eastern winter season, is the incipient rainfall that can be anticipated after six months or more of seasonal drought. We sing hoshana prayers all week long, culminating in the near-ecstatic hoshana marathon of Hoshana Raba on the seventh day, when we whack the ground with willow branches in a remarkable echo of pagan fertility cults. As we perform these rituals, the liturgy we recite asks God to grant us the blessing of seasonal rainfall:

"Save man and beast; renew the earth and bless its produce. Send rain to nurture greenery; let cool waters flow. Sustain the world, our earth, suspended in space. Help us now!… Save the soil from curses, our substance from catastrophe. Protect our crops from destruction, our flocks from disease, our souls from terror. Help us now!" Even while summoning arguments and pleas that stress the Jewish people’s unique relationship with God, the hoshanot look to the wider world of Creation and its inhabitants.

In the ancient Temple, a water-pouring ceremony, simhat beit ha-sho'eiva, was the pinnacle of the public celebrations of Sukkot. It, too, was a uniquely Israelite practice, but at its center was the hope that divine blessings would again this year be showered -- quite literally -- upon all the inhabitants of the familiar world of the Eastern Mediterranean basin. In the words of the 20th century Israeli Torah scholar Eliyahu Kitov:

"Water remains eternally pure for all humanity. The waters preceded the earth, and when the earth was destroyed, the waters were not -- they remained eternally pure… So when the Earth is blessed with water, all the world’s inhabitants are blessed."

Sacrificial Bulls

For biblical Israel, the festivals were the occasion of large numbers of public sacrifices in the Temple. Each day of the year, two lambs were offered up as burnt offerings, and on Shabbat two additional lambs as well. But on Rosh Hodesh, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, and the pilgrimage festivals of Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot, the altar was the site of many more sacrifices: lambs, rams, bulls and goats in various numbers were slaughtered there.

Sukkot was far and away the most sacrifice-laden of all those occasions. Each day, fourteen lambs -- twice as many as on any other occasion -- were offered, and two rams -- also twice the number on other holidays. Most unusual was the number of bulls offered on the seven days of Sukkot: 13 on the first day, 12 on the second day, 11 on the third, and so on through the seventh day, when 7 bulls were sacrificed on the altar. All the other animals sacrificed on a given day numbered 1, 2, 7 or 14; the declining sequence from 13 to 7 marks a radical departure from that regularity. Furthermore, the number of lambs, rams and goats offered on each day of the seven-day festivals, Sukkot and Pesach, was unchanging. So was the number of bulls offered on each day of Pesach: seven.

This departure from numerical norms attracted the attention of the talmudic sages. They seem to have had no trouble cracking the code. All the other sacrifices of a particular kind of animal on a particular holiday numbered either 1 or 2 or else 7 multiplied by one of those two smaller numbers (7 times 1 or 7 times 2). The bulls offered on the seven days of Sukkot totaled 70, or 7 times 10. On the day after Sukkot, Shmini Atzeret, which is a separate festival day, the numbers of animals sacrificed plummet back into the more common range: seven lambs, one ram, one goat, and now only one lone bull.

In the world of the Rabbis, seventy is the symbolic number of the nations of the world, each speaking its own particular language among the seventy languages of the world. It is quite natural, then, to find in the tractate Sukkah in the Babylonian Talmud the following observation:

"Rabbi Elazar said, ‘To what do those seventy bulls correspond? To the seventy nations. To what does the single bullock [of the Eighth Day] correspond? To the unique nation [i.e., the Jewish people]. This may be compared to a mortal king who said to his servants: Prepare for me a great banquet. But on the last day [of festivities] he said to his beloved friend: Prepare for me a simple meal that I may derive benefit from you.’" (Sukkah 55b)

The seventy bulls of the seven days of Sukkot represent a sacrifice offered to God on behalf of all the other nations. This was their one chance each year to take part, albeit by Israelite proxy, in the worship of the Lord on the Lord’s holy mountain. The lone bull of Shmini Atzeret represents Israel, the people called in 2 Samuel 7:23 a nation unique on earth.

The talmudic passage continues with an additional observation by another rabbinic sage:

"Rabbi Yohanan said, ‘Woe to the idolaters, for they had a loss and do not know what they have lost. When the Temple was in existence the altar atoned for them, but now who shall atone for them?’"

From Rabbi Yohanan we learn what function was fulfilled, in the Rabbis’ view, by those seventy bulls. They provided atonement for the sins of all humanity, freeing them from the burden of divine punishment. Even without their knowledge or participation, the other peoples of the world were provided by our ancestors -- or so those ancestors saw it, at least -- with the same divine grace that God granted the Israelites, enabling them to free themselves of guilt for offenses against the divine. (Offenses against other humans were not then, as they are not now when prayer has replaced sacrifices, understood to be forgiven by God unless sincere and vigorous attempts were made at restitution and attaining forgiveness from the one who was wronged.)

Sukkot for All the World

The haftarah read in synagogues around the world on the first day of Sukkot is chapter 14, the concluding chapter, of the prophecy of Zechariah. Zechariah lived in the late sixth century BCE, making him one of the last of the biblical prophets. He warned of a day of divine judgment upon all humanity. After the battles of the end of days, though, he promised, the Lord will be acknowledged as sovereign by all the nations, and all peoples will then be invited to celebrate the festival of Sukkot in Jerusalem:

All who survive of all those nations that came up against Jerusalem shall make a pilgrimage year by year to bow low to the King, the Lord of Hosts, and to observe the Feast of Sukkot. (Zechariah 14:16)

Sukkot is a festival that recalls the Israelite nation’s life in the aftermath of being rescued from slavery. However, the capstone of that redemption is not Israel’s new life in Canaan alone. The holiday also points us further forward to a time when all the inhabitants of the earth will be united in recognition of the one true God.

Our Expression of Universal Truths

While we may choose to remain loyal, even stubbornly loyal, to our own particular treasured culture and its unique practices and beliefs, Sukkot helps to remind us that Judaism is our way of inculcating values that are, in large part, universal values. Being Jewish is our way of being human.

Grüße in die Sukah:
Herzlichst aus Jerusalem
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