What is the rationale behind this idea? The Bible addresses a nation, which is made up mostly of farmers. As autumn arrives, and they gather the fruits of their labor, they are liable to attribute all of their success to themselves. And since not everyone’s crops are successful, those who have been successful might look down on those who have not, and attribute their failure entirely to them. Especially in the
which depends on rainfall for the watering of crops attributing success or
failure to one’s own actions makes little sense. And so, everyone is commanded
to go out of their homes, and expose themselves equally to the elements for an
extended period of time, to remind themselves of how little control they really
have over their own existence. Land of Israel
Courtesy of www.offgrid-living.com
Now, why not just teach this as a lesson, or have everyone expose themselves to the elements for an hour or two? Well, because it probably would not work. The only way to truly grasp how things work is to really experience them. More importantly, the only way to develop empathy for those for whom things may not have worked that well, is to walk a mile in their shoes, or live a week in their tent, as the case may be.
Today’s American economy is vastly different from the economy of Iron Age Palestine. Very few of us are farmers, and those that are do not have to depend on natural irrigation only. However, it is still true that while hard work is important, much of success and failure in our world is due to God, or karma, or luck, take your pick. The universal message of Sukkot in our globalized economy is that we should not forget this. The difference between us and those folks under I-45 is not that great, after all.