Haftarah Succot Day Two: Clouds of Success
1Kings 8:2-21: The Succot remind us of the protection afforded by the seven clouds of glory as we traveled through the desert for forty years. In fact, Rabbi Eliyahu Mizrachi, Beha’alotecha, asks why we are not obligated
to build a succah as exact replications of the clouds of glory; 4 solid walls, a roof, floor and a seventh something somewhere outside the booth! (See Bayit Chadash, Tur Orach Chaim 625, Beit Hasho’eiva #3, Tzitz Eliezer Yoreh Deah #61, HaKetav V’Hakabalah Vayikra 23)
Our succot symbolize clouds. They take us back to our time in the desert. They take us back to the first cloud mentioned in the Bible; the mist used to create the mud from which Adam’s body was formed. They also take us back to the conclusion of the book of Exodus, (Chapter 40: 34-38) when Moses and the people of Israel were so successful in constructing a “Home for God” that His presence appeared in a cloud of glory so powerful that the people, including Moses, were unable to even enter the building they had made. They successfully constructed a Tabernacle that was greater than were they.
The succah takes us back to the dedication of the Temple of Solomon. “When the Kohanim left the sanctuary, the cloud filled the Temple of God. The Kohanim could not stand and minister because of the cloud; for the glory of God filled the Temple.” Exactly what happened to Moses and Israel.
The succah, a fragile booth, with a partially open roof, reminds us of what we can accomplish; we can build a “home” for God. We can create an environment so powerful that it will be greater than we are. The succah challenges us to construct a setting that will attract God’s presence. We are practicing raise a structure in which we can find God. The physical assembly does not matter. The environment we nurture will determine our success inside our succah and, after the holiday, in our homes.