Ha’azinu (Sukkot)

He gave nations their homes, divided humanity, fixed the boundaries of peoples…” We are born into a group, family, clan; sometimes, a group identity is chosen or ascribed to us by others. Like all categories and definitions, these boundaries should be explored, challenged, and occasionally destroyed. But only occasionally. Boundaries and definitions are not always limitations – they allow us to engage in the world as Something rather than Everything (which is to say, Nothing). Particularism shouldn’t negate universalism, if we are careful. Sitting in a sukkah, we are connected to the outside world, its beauty and its dangers. The flimsy temporary walls offer little protection, yet they allow us to feel the triple paradox of intimacy, vulnerability, and boundless openness.

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[Inspired by: Deuteronomy 32; Rav Shagar, She’erit Ha’emunah; Ar”i, Sha’ar Hakavanot Sukkot 4; and Escaping Criticism by Pere Borrell del Caso.]

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