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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 10, 2006 /18 Tishrei, 5767

The paradox of Sukkos Or, How to continue our lives

By Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo



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The Feast of Tabernacles' universal message

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When contemplating the festival of Sukkos, we are confronted with a remarkable paradox.


As is well known, the Succah visualizes our life span in This World. For what is a Succah? It is a frail structure which we need to dwell in for seven days. Many commentators remind us that these seven days represent man's average life span, which is about seventy years. This is well stated by King David when he wrote: "The span of his years are seventy and with strength eighty years." (Psalms 90:10) Indeed under favorable circumstances, we may prolong our stay in this world into our eighth day which is symbolized by Shemini Chag Atzeres, (a separate festival immediately following the seven days of Sukkos)


Indeed, how frail our life is! Not only short but also most unreliable. As long as we live under favorable and healthy circumstances, life is a pleasant experience and just like the Succah, it seems to protect us and we feel safe. But once life uncovers serious problems or turns against us, we realize how little protection it is really able to offer and how unstable our lives really are. Like the Succah, it is far less reliable than we had imagined.


Perplexing, however, is the fact that the festival of Sukkos is seen as the highlight of joy and happiness. Speaking specifically about Sukkos, the Torah states: "And you shall be happy on your festival" (Deut. 16-14) This means that we should experience the most exalted form of happiness at a time when we have to dwell in a structure which is far from secure!


In fact, Jewish law makes it utmost clear that the Succah must be built in such a way that it is not able to stand up against a strong wind, that its roof must be leaking when it starts to rain and that it must contain more shadow than sunlight.

AT ONCE, VULNERABLE AND HAPPY?
These conditions should make us feel distressed since the Succah seems to represent the vulnerability of man. So why command us to be joyful, precisely at the time when one is confronted with all that what can go wrong with life?


Here another question comes to mind. Since the Succah teaches us about life's handicaps, we would expect that Jewish law would also require the interior of the Succah to reflect a similar message. As such, the Succah should be empty of all comfort. It should just contain some broken chairs, an old table and some meager cutlery to eat one's dry bread with.


However Jewish law holds a great surprise. It requires that the Succah's interior should reflect a most optimistic lifestyle. Its frail walls should be decorated with beautiful art, paintings and other decorations. The leaking roof, made from leaves or reeds, should be made to look attractive by hanging colorful fruits down from it. One is required to bring one's best furniture into the Succah, if possible to put a carpet on the ground, have nice curtains hanging in front of its windows. One should eat from the most beautiful plates and use one's best cutlery. Meals should be more elaborate, including delicacies. Singing should accompany those meals. All this seems to reflect a feeling that this world is a most pleasant place made for our enjoyment and recreation!


So why sit in a frail hut simultaneously?


The message could not be clearer: However much the outside walls and the leaking roof reveal man's vulnerability and uncertainty, inside these walls one needs to make one's life as attractive as possible and enjoy its great benefits and blessings.


This should not be lost on us. Instead of becoming depressed and losing faith because of the ongoing continuation of terrorist attacks in Israel, we should continue to approach life with the optimistic note which is conveyed to us by the beautiful interior of the Succah. True, the ongoing guerrilla attacks on Jews in the land of Israel and the collapse of the Twin Towers in the heart of America and increased terror threats proves how vulnerable modern man really is and how shaken the outer walls of his "Succah" are!


But this should not hold us back from enjoying life as much as possible. To be happy when all is well is of no great significance. But to be fully aware of the dangers which surround us and simultaneously continue our lives with "song and harp" is what makes humans great and proud. Indeed, this has been the power and strength of the Jewish people through the thousands of years. While living under most difficult and even impossible circumstances our forefathers, as an ultimate act of faith, kept on celebrating life.


Jew and gentile should be encouraged to build strong family ties and create, just as in the case of the Succah, strong and pleasant homes. It should inspire people to go to synagogue and church and create strong communities, because these are some of the decorations in our lifelong Succah.


Indeed, the walls of our worldly Succah may be shaking, but let us not forget that we have an obligation to decorate its interior.

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JWR contributor Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo is a world-renowned lecturer and ambassador for Judaism, the Jewish people, the State of Israel and Sephardic Heritage.

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© 2006, Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo