Festival Prayers-Succot Kavanot-Psalms 146-150
Psalm 146: “Praise God, O my soul! I will praise God while I live, I will make music to my Lord while I exist. Do not trust in nobles, nor on a human being, for he holds no salvation. When his spirit departs he returns to the earth, on that day all his plans perish (Psalms 146:1-3).” We sit in the Sukkah in Bitachon; relying on God’s protection, not that of our house. We live this verse during Succot and remind ourselves that all year long it is upon God Whom we must rely. We sing in the Sukkah, making music to our Lord, Who gives us existence and protects us.
“He counts the number of the stars, to all of them He assigns names (Psalms 147:4).” We are instructed to place the s’chach so that we can peek through the open spaces and see the stars, and remember that God names each star; each details of creation serves a purpose. We remind ourselves that we have just completed Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, when each of us was called by name, and assured that we matter enough o the Creator for Him to judge us.
“Praise Him, the most exalted of heavens and the waters that are above the heavens (Psalms 148:4).” The waters spoken of in this verse are the waters of the Creation. The verse refers to them, “And the Lord called the firmament Shamayim (Genesis 1:8),” as if to say, “Sa Mayim,” “Be laden with water.” (Midrash Tehillim 148:2)
Succot is the holiday on which God judges the waters of the world; how much will fall, how will it fall, when will it fall, etc. We pour water over the Altar of Earth in the Temple connecting us back to Creation.
We sit in the Sukkah under the open skies to honor the Water above the firmament that continues to fulfill its role of Sa Mayim. (See “The Dance of Water & Earth)
“Let Israel rejoice in his Maker; let the children of Zion be joyful in their King (Psalms 149:2).” This is our response to Yehi Chivod, “May the glory of God endure forever; let God rejoice in His works!” that began the introduction to Ashrei and the Six Hallelukahs: God rejoices in us, and we, on Sukkot, Z’man Simchateinu, rejoice in God.
“Let all souls praise God! Hallelukah!” We recite this verse twice, as if to say, Let all souls praise God, and let the complete soul praise God. The “Complete Soul” may refer to praising God with our entire being, as we do when we sit in the Sukkah. It may also mean the Complete Soul of Israel, united and unified praise God, as we express when we hold the Four Species, representing all of Israel, praise God.