The laws of the festivals form part of this week’s sidra, including the law of Sukkot. The building of the sukkah is given a historical explanation: “So that your generations may know that I made the Children of Israel dwell in booths (sukkot) when I brought them out of the land of Egypt” (Lev. 23:43).
As God’s providence preserved our ancestors in their flimsy dwellings in the wilderness, so does His protection enable us to survive the fragility of life in every generation.
There is an interesting question. Why do we blame God when things go wrong but fail to thank Him when things go well?
Human beings have always known the problem of evil, which asks how a good God can allow pain and suffering. It is an especially pertinent question in the post-Holocaust era. Some have given up on God because they accuse Him of letting them down. Some, without realising there is a precedent in the Book of Job, speak of putting God on trial for what He did or failed to do.
But if there is a problem of evil, there is also a problem of good. If there is undeserved suffering and we accuse God over it, there is also undeserved goodness. How can we take our blessings for granted and fail to admit that there are times when God gets it right?
If we are disturbed that there was so much pain, suffering and martyrdom, should we not equally rejoice over the fact that the Jewish people, however attenuated, has come through, that Israel, however grievously assailed, has survived, and that Judaism, however misunderstood and maligned, has continued to flourish?