Back To Basics-succot - áçæøä ìî÷åøåú- ñåëåú
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Noseh: Appreciating Hashem through nature
Goal: To teach the chanichim that
1. Natural beauty is a way to appreciate God in the world
2. Succot is a time-out we take to reconnect to nature, in order to appreciate Hashem’s wondrous creation.
3. While appreciating nature, we also need to appreciate our dependence on Hashem.
Materials: Pictures of beaches, quote and poem from diver, pictures of animals
Show the chanichim the attached pictures of beaches. After they all have seen it, ask them where they think the pictures came from? Give them the following choices:
Most, or at least some, of the Chanichim will choose either the
Good. So now everyone knows where the pretty pictures came from. So, next time you visit
It’s time to read and think about the following statement:
Even after one-half dozen trips to the island, I am still surprised by the diving. Actually, I would only be surprised if it didn’t jump out and grab me in a new and different way each and every day. To explore the island properly is not the work of a single week (or two or three). After perhaps 150 dives off
A simple gift G-d gave to man
All beauty found within the land
The birds and flowers, sand and sea
All of these things he gave to thee.
So- what’s nature good for? What did this diver appreciate? More importantly- why did he feel moved to recite the poem he did? What is the most beautiful natural sight you’ve ever seen? Did it make you think of God? Why or why not?
How often do you go out to enjoy and appreciate nature? In the world we live in, we’re surrounded on every side by technology. We’re less and less connected to nature, which means we have fewer opportunities to take the time to appreciate God’s incredible handiwork in our world.
How can we respond to this problem? You can think of this- what do your parents do if they feel like you’re not putting enough time into doing your homework? They’ll set aside a specific time for you to do it (as soon as you get home, before the TV goes on, etc).
What kind of time would be a good time for this? The time when nature is at its most magnificent, when your crops are coming in and its harvest time, and you have all this produce that you’re so happy about… are you seeing where this is leading?
Part of the message of Succot, of going out to live in booths, is this “nature get-away.” We go outside, and we realize what beautiful surroundings we have. In Eretz Yisrael, at a time when the Jewish people were more in tune with the land, this was more obvious- their succot overlooked fields ripe with produce, not parking lots or small backyards. One of the Halachot of building a Succah is that we must be able to see the stars through the roof. Why must this be so? The reason is because the stars are one of the most beautiful parts of nature- just think of a time in camp, on an overnight, or a chutz, or a camping trip, when you lay down and looked up at the stars. Besides living in the Succah, are there any other examples of “nature” within Succot? (Possible answers – Arba Minim, the water libations on Succot, hanging up fruit in the Succah, the other name for Succot – Chag HaAsif – holiday of gathering in the grain). The purpose of this is not just to look at pretty stuff- like the diver we read about above, it’s about appreciating the beauty and wonder of God’s creation.
OK, that’s all very nice, but here’s a stumper-- why do we need a flimsy little booth to do this?? Why can’t we just have a “tiyul day” when we go out and experience nature, when we go and appreciate all of the crops we grew?
Let’s answer the question by looking at more pretty pictures. These are two nature pictures- but with a very different personality. You might call one “scary nature” and one “pretty nature”. If you did a Google © images search of “nature”, what kind of picture do you think you’d get- pretty nature or scary nature? Probably a toss-up right? It’s hard to say. Interestingly enough- it takes a full 9 pages of images to get anything remotely scary! Everything until then is beautiful or cuddly! When we think of nature, we might first think of beauty and wonder, but, as you well know, there’s a whole different side to nature than the beautiful wondrous side- for every pretty rainbow, there’s a ferocious hurricane, for every cuddly critter, there’s a cunning crocodile or a terrifying tarantula. Nature can be pretty scary and threatening to humans. When we’re in our homes, we “know” that we’ve got everything under control, we’re in charge. When we’re out in nature, we’re made to feel more dependent on Hashem. Just like the Jews in the desert- the reason given in the Torah for Succot is “So that your generations will know that I settled the Children of Israel in huts when I took them out of
So, Succot has it all- the best and worst of any chutz/overnight/camping trip. We take a little nature getaway to appreciate nature, and its Creator. At the same time, we realize how vulnerable we are in this world, and how dependent we therefore are on that Creator. And, of course, these aren’t only important things for succot. The most important thing is that we bring these messages back into our house from the succah for the rest of the year
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