Sukkot: United and  Unique

Every Jew is a recipient of the miracles connected to Sukkot.

Contact Editor
Larry Domnitch,

Larry Domnitch
Larry Domnitch
IsraelNewsPhoto: L.D.


Regarding the exodus from Egypt, the Torah addresses Bnei Yisrael several times as YOU in the second person. Sometimes in the singular, other times in the plural, but nonetheless in that context. For example, the first of the Ten Commandments, Hashem states, “I am HaShem your G-D who took YOU out of the land of Egypt.

The Torah states, “and Hashem took US out from there” is seen as part of the chain of continuity of the Jews. Just as Hashem protected and preserved the Jewish people as they exited Egypt, so too throughout history and every Jewish individual is a direct descendant and recipient of those seminal events. Hence, the words of the Mishna, quoted in the Hagaddah, “In every generation, a person must see himself as if he exited Egypt.” Mishna Pesachim 10:5.

Also, Hashem took us all out, for without that exodus as the Passover Haggadah states the Jews would still be enslaved by Pharaoh in perpetuity.  
So the word YOU apply to each and every Jew in every generation.

The Torah states that the Israelites should live in the Sukkah on Sukkot, “So that your (future) generations should know that I caused Bnei Yisrael to dwell in booths, when I took THEM out of the land of Egypt.” Vayikra 23:43 Why, with regard to Sukkot does the Torah speak of Bnei Yisrael as ‘them’?   

Sukkot celebrates Hashem’s protection of Bnei Yisrael in the desert and also the uniqueness of that particular generation. This was the Dor Deah, those who left Egypt and saw the miracles as they left Egypt and received Hashem’s protection in the Midbar. It is also the generation which left Egypt and entered the barren wilderness trusting in Hashem’s protection.

As the prophet Jeremiah states, “You followed ME into the desert into an unsown land.” Jeremiah 2:2 In the Sinai wilderness, they also faced trials and tribulations unlike other times in history. As the Torah states, Bnei Yisrael tested Hashem ten times in the wilderness. Bamidbar 14:22 Thus, the Torah refers to that generation as “THEM” since this generation was unique. 

Perhaps just like the Dor HaMidbar, the generation that dwelled in the wilderness, each generation in history is also unique. Every generation of Jewish history had its own unique struggles and challenges. In our own generation, Jews live with triumphs and challenges exclusive to this generation, the re-establishment of the Jewish State after a prolonged exile, facing continual existential threats from enemies, assimilation and alienation. 

Every generation is part of that chain of tradition which commenced at the exodus and was forged at Mount Sinai. At the same token, each generation is unique. Hence, Hashem took us out of Egypt, and protected them, our ancestors in the Sinai wilderness.