Messages from Rabbi Russo

October 2 - 19 Tishrei

Shabbat Shalom
As we discussed last Shabbat, the sukkah was understood by our rabbis in two ways.  One position holds that the sukkot in the Torah refer to God, the clouds of glory.  Another stance is that the sukkot are actually the physical booths.  Talmud Sukkot 11b has the conversation:
(We apologize, but Hebrew text is unavailable.)

For it was taught in a Baraita: “That I caused the children of Israel to dwell in sukkot” (Leviticus 23:43).  The “sukkot” were clouds of glory that accompanied and protected the Israelites according to Rabbi Eliezer. Rabbi Akiva says the Israelites made for themselves actual booths.

We balance the abundance of God with the fragility of the sukkot.  This Shabbat Hol HaMoed feels particularly vulnerable as news of two instances of murder - in Oregon and the West Bank - weigh on our hearts.  In times like these, we pray for the Divine sheltering over each other.
Another way we are exposed is with the threatening forecast.  If you are concerned that your sukkah could damage your property or your neighbor's property, it is permissible to take it down.
We follow the Town of Clarkstown and the Clarkstown Police weather advisories. The safety of our congregants is our number one priority.  Please go to this website and sign up for alerts.  If there is an advisory not to travel, then please stay home.  We will close the synagogue if there is a report from the police indicating that it is not safe to travel.  Hopefully this will not happen and all of our services and programs will continue as planned. 

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach.