Exiled To The Succah-Restoring God’s Glory
“And in the merit of my leaving my house to go out, may this be reckoned for me as if I have wandered afar.” In return for the Jewish exile of leaving their homes and dwelling in the succah, God considers it as if they had been exiled all the way to Babylon, and they are forgiven all their sins (Pesikta d’Rav Kahana 29).”
“His daughter-in-law, the wife of Pinchas, was pregnant and near the time of delivery. When she heard the news that the ark of the Lord had been captured and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she went into labor and gave birth, but was overcome by her labor pains. As she was dying, the women attending her said, ‘Don’t despair; you have given birth to a son.’ But she did not respond or pay any attention. She named the boy Icavod (there is no Glory) saying, ‘The Glory has departed (Galah – been exiled) from Israel,’ because of the capture of the ark of the Lord and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband. She said, ‘The Glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of the Lord has been captured’ (Samuel I 4:19-22).”
This woman repeats “The Glory has departed from Israel,” because she is addressing two different situations; hers and her son’s.
Although the attending women said, “Don’t despair; you have given birth to a son,” she realizes that her situation is devoid of any glory. Her son, the grandson of the Judge and Cohen Gadol, the son of a future Cohen Gadol, the nephew of one of the leading Cohanim, was born without any of these people to guide him, without a mother to nurture and raise him.
She names him, Icavod, as his mission: He is to restore the Glory that has been taken from Israel. He begins life exiled, without family, but with a challenge to dedicate his life to bringing back all the Glory that has been taken.
Our exile on the first day of Succot, in a house without a solid roof, vulnerable, removed from our homes, is to remind us to focus on the Glory, as in the Clouds of Glory that formed the original Succot in the desert, and dedicate ourselves to use our time in exile in the Succah to restore God’s Glory to the world.
Our conversations should be focused on how we can act in ways that will restore the Glory of the Ark of the Lord in our Torah study and all our actions.