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When are the wicked forgiven?

Friday, 2 October, 2020 - 4:17 pm

 Sukkah Fence.jpg

So, it’s behind us. Yom Kippur - the Day of Atonement - all who wish can return to G-d and begin over with a clean slate. It’s an amazing concept and a powerful holiday. It reflects the deep and abiding belief that G-d has in each of us, that we are worthy and redeemable despite our flaws. G-d sees in us what we sometimes don’t see in ourselves.

Many think that Yom Kippur is the pinnacle of the Jewish calendar (and they may be right in some ways) but the truth is that Sukkot has something over Yom Kippur. And it’s message is so relevant and needed nowadays.

Sukkot, which begins tonight, is such a wonderful holiday. With deep meaning and significance, the rituals associated with it are so rich and colorful - Sukkot is my favorite holiday. The obvious associations of the holiday are the Sukkah, the Lulav and Etrog and the dancing and celebration. 

But there is something more - it’s also the time of forgiveness. The Midrash tells us that the unity of Sukkot affects forgiveness for those who are so wicked that even the holiness of Yom Kippur can’t bring about forgiveness for them.

Consider the power of this idea; someone might be considered so far gone that Yom Kippur can’t help them - yet the power of unity brings about forgiveness for them.

It certainly helps us realize how powerful unity actually is. 

Just as a reminder - there’s minimal value in being united with those who share your values and outlook. True unity is when it includes those who bitterly disagree with you and everything you believe. Consider the Four Kinds, the Mitzvah which we observe on Sukkot; they are all different, yet the mitzvah is specifically to bring them together. The Sukkah itself reflects the same idea - it equally surrounds people of any and all creeds in its holy embrace.

Perhaps Sukkot is a good time to consider how we view and treat those who differ from us? Give it a try, you might be surprised to find that letting go of division and discord actually makes your life lighter and happier.

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