Pursuit Of Peace
By Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig
Our daily evening prayers contain an interesting petition to the Almighty:
"Spread over us the Succah of Your peace." Our Sages explain that the
Succah is representative of the six Clouds of Glory that surrounded and
protected the Children of Israel throughout their travels in the
wilderness. These clouds remained with them through the merit of Aaron,
the Kohen Gadol (High Priest). The attribute that Aaron epitomized was a
lover and pursuer of peace. In what way does the Succah represent peace
more than the other mitzvos (Divine commandments)? And what is the
meaningful connection between Aaron's loving and pursuing of peace and our
observance of this mitzvah?
Rabbi Eliezer Dessler (1) explains that when we leave our houses and move
into Succah booths for a week, we remind ourselves how little we really
control our circumstances. By leaving the "security" of our brick and
mortar homes and subjecting ourselves to the forces of nature, we are
reminding ourselves that there is nothing given and absolute in the
physical world. All of its structures and pleasures are temporal; only
our Torah study and mitzvos have a lasting effect. Our only true control
is over the decisions we make in the situations in which we find ourselves.
This was Aaron's unique trait. Aaron was chosen by G-d to be the High
Priest, the Divine emissary to connect the Jewish people to G-d. Once the
paradigm shifts and spirituality becomes the national priority, the
realization soon follows that another's spiritual growth is to my benefit.
There is no room for jealousy beyond the physical world. With this
achievement, peace is the natural byproduct.
Aaron chased after peace because he understood the "win-win": everyone
involved gained spiritually from the process, and the dividend was communal
In our contemporary world of techno-gadgets, the lesson of the Succah is
all the more essential to remind us of our limitations and enable our
focus on our real priorities. With this may we merit the experience of
genuine peace prevailing among us.
Have a Good Shabbos and a Good Yom Tov!
(1) in Michtav Me'Eliyahu, his collected writings and discourses; 1891-
1954; of London and B'nai Brak, one of the outstanding personalities and
thinkers of the Mussar movement
Text Copyright © 2004 by Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig
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