A wonderful part of the holiday of Sukkot is that of ushpizin — the tradition of formally inviting into our temporary dwellings the patriarchs of Jewish history.
Welcoming the souls of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph and King David, as well as, in egalitarian households, those of Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Leah, Miriam, Abigail and Esther, is a way of tapping into the mystical power of these great figures of our past, and to link them with the formidable spiritual force that the sukkah represents. While these temporary huts are reminders of the makeshift shelters erected in the wilderness by the Israelites, they also allow us to channel the greatness of our heritage and to connect it to the present.
Though families can each sit in their own sukkah, the truth is this holiday helps link us to the entire Jewish people down through the ages. This year, as we celebrate this season of joy, let's take a moment to reflect on the importance of the example of our patriarchs and matriarchs. In doing so, let us actively take up responsibility for the community that we live in and for the fate of the Jewish people as a whole. Let us find in their example the strength to stand up for an embattled Israel, to stress the primacy of Jewish education in our community, and to care for the sick and needy among us.
Sukkot reminds us that keeping open the door to the past is the surest path to a fruitful future. Chag sameach!