The Jewish Holiday Season: Rosh Hashonah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot
Three Dimensions of Sukkot
In the dimension of Being, we are "visited" and strengthened by the Seven Shepherds who lived out the reality of God to the point of becoming the personifications of Godly traits in the world.
In the dimension of Space, we take the Four Species, consisting of three myrtle branches, two willow branches, one palm branch, and one citron. The three myrtle branches hint to the three patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, since the myrtle leaf has the shape of an eye and the patriarchs are the vision of the nation. The two willow branches hint to Moses and Aaron, since the willow leaf has the shape of lips and Moses and Aaron taught the Torah to the nation of Israel. The palm branch hints to Joseph, since the palm branch has the shape of the spine and Joseph is the staple righteous person that is the backbone of the Jewish people because of his ongoing rising above sexual temptations in Egypt. The citron hints to King David, since the citron has the shape of a heart and King David was the impassioned singer of Psalms to God.
In the dimension of Time, the celebration of Sukkot is for seven days because the number seven indicates completion in the natural world in which we live. After all, everything in the physical has six sides: up, down, left, right, front, back; this is physical space in its complete form. (Thus, God created the physical world in six days.) But there is also a nonphysical midpoint, the spiritual core from which the physical sides draw the energy for their existence. That is, the concepts of up, down, left, right, front, and back do not consist of any essential existence. Rather, up, down, left, right, front, and back are all relative to their midpoint, the existence of which is so total that it cannot be pointed to since anything that can be pointed to exists in the physical and, thus, can be further broken down. (Similarly, we take the seven components of the Four Species and shake them in all six directions while we act as the seventh—i.e., the midpoint.)
Additionally, it is specifically on the 15th of the Hebrew month of Tishrei that the holiday of Sukkot begins because the 15th of the month is always indicative of the strongest expression of the energy of that month. Since the theme of the holidays of Tishrei is the return to God, reality, and one's true self, Sukkot—the holiday in which we live out this consciousness in action, with our physical dwelling places, with our physical objects, and with the "physical" people who personified these ideals—is celebrated from the 15th of Tishrei.
In this manner, the Hebrew month of Tishrei (which contains the holiday of Sukkot, as well as Rosh Hashonah and Yom Kippur) truly serves as the month of return—the return to God, return to reality, and the return to oneself—in a complete manner. Thus, the word TiShReI is spelled with the last letters of the Hebrew alphabet going backward (indicating a return) with the letter yud (indicating wholeness and spirituality since the letter yud has the shape of a mere point expressing existence that is beyond the physical, since a point exists on the page yet is not drawn out into the physical).
Wishing everyone a joyous and meaningful Sukkot!
Rabbi Eliyahu Yaakov is a sought after international speaker on Kabbalah, relationships, parenting, and life. His newly released book, Jewish By Choice: A Kabbalistic Take on Life & Judaism, recently hit #1 on Amazon's Best Seller list.