By Steven Zvi, Aish—
The sukkah commemorates the miracle that God gave us in the desert in the form of the Ananei Ha-Kavod (the Clouds of Glory). These miraculous clouds protected us from the surrounding enemies as well as provided us with shelter from all the negative elements associated with living in a desert.
Yet there were other miracles that God provided to us in the desert, such as the manna which fell directly from heaven or the Well of Miriam, a rock which spewed forth fresh drinking water for the Jewish nation to drink from while in the desert. So why are the Clouds of Glory the only miracle that merit its own holiday, the holiday of Sukkot? And shouldn’t the holiday be during the month of Nisan, Passover time, when the Jewish people first received the miracle of the Clouds of Glory? Why is the holiday during the fall?
To fully understand the answer to this question let us pause for a minute and obtain a deeper understanding as to why we commemorate these special clouds at all. The Clouds of Glory followed and protected the Jewish people from all the negative elements of the desert starting from when the Jewish people left Egypt. Yet following the sin of the golden calf God punished the Jewish people by removing the protecting clouds. After the terrible transgression of the golden calf, Moses went up to heaven for 40 days to beg for God’s forgiveness on behalf of the Jewish people. Following his 40-day successful trip, Moses spoke to the Jewish people and relayed the three things he received from God:
- The second Tablets with The 10 Commandments”
- A one-word message from God: “Selachti” (“I have forgiven you”) regarding the sin of the golden calf
- The return of the Clouds of Glory, marking the reconciliation between God and the Jewish people