Sukkot: Dwelling in G-d’s Protection

As Blacks in the Diaspora, especially African- Americans our stability as a people has always been fragile. Like the Hebrews who dwelled under a cloud of miraculous protection when they left the bondage of slavery in Egypt, we too can look back at our 400 year journey as miraculous.

We are still here despite slavery, Jim Crow, lynchings, redlining, police brutality, housing discrimination, economic inequality and so much more. The reality is the litany of offenses African-Americans have endured can go on forever. But we are still here, many of us have leaned heavily on our spirituality, a strength passed down from our ancestors. They prayed as they endured the perversions of slavery, singing Negro Spirituals to lead them to sweet freedom. Ebenezer Baptist Church and The Temple in Atlanta were both homes to the Civil Rights Movement putting G-d at  the center of our fight for justice.

Africans- Americans are a strong people collectively withstanding every storm that has come our way.  The oppression that we silently internalized for centuries is now playing out on our television screens for the world to see. We can no longer deny the inequity that has become synonymous with our existence. And in that, there is a deep knowledge that someone or something has helped us along the way….and is still helping us. So we must ask ourselves are we a divinely protected people? Some would say yes, others would look to our struggle and  say I don’t think so.

But what if Sukkot is a representation of our ideal relationship with Hashem. Many believe the key to our freedom from oppression is unity.

Lulav and Etrog

What if the four species- the lulav (frond of date palm), Etrog (citron), Hadass (myrtle bough), and Aravah (willow branch) represented Black people from all four corners of the Earth that only when brought together, like the four species during Sukkot, do they receive the blessing while dwelling in G-d’s miraculous protection.

As we watch the beauty of the Black Lives Matter protests and watch in awe as Black people in the Diaspora stand up for ourselves, no can ignore the momentum of unity. So during Sukkot 2020, let’s set aside our differences as  Jews to thank G-d that we made it to witness these days and pray we live on to see the blessings.

Remember, this only temporary as G-d prepares us for greater.


Chag Sameach!

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