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October 15, 2011 / 17 Tishri, 5772

Shabbat chol ha-moed Sukkot
Ezekiel 38:18-39:16

The fruit of the earth has been gathered and harvested and the earth is beginning to ease itself into its period of annual sleep. The days are becoming shorter; each evening the amount of darkness increases. It is precisely during these times when the fear of the coming darkness rises that miracles are needed. Miracles and redemption occur in order to champion God's power and to counter the negative and hostile forces that confront us. The darkness of the coming winter parallels the mythological forces that are allied against God, forces that will attack Israel from the North and will be utterly destroyed by Divine fury that will be manifested through earthquakes, pestilence and bloodshed.

It is Sukkoth the Festival of Booths and our ancestors dwelt in fragile shelters. Just as they experienced the frailty of life, we symbolically imitate their wanderings, and become more sensitive to the fragility of our lives today. Just a few days ago, on the first day of Sukkoth, we read the words of the prophet Zechariah who like Ezekiel in today's haftarah, described the potential future in apocalyptic terms.

This morning's haftarah was most probably composed some time around 573. B.C.E., thirteen years before the Temple's destruction. While this period could have been described as a period of doom and gloom, the prophet sees beyond the destruction and understands this to be a precursor, to a better national future.

This week's Haftarah commentary was written by
Rabbi Charles Simon, Executive Director of the FJMC and author of
"Building A Successful Volunteer Culture: Finding Meaning in Service in the Jewish" Jewish Lights Publishing.

The opinions expressed in this Unraveller are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the FJMC.


The authors and editors of the Unraveller wish you, our readers, and the entire Jewish world
Chag Sameach!
The happiest of happy holidays!

photos from Jerusalem
A sukkah on the street in Nachlaot, Jerusalem (October 10, 2011, Nicole Greenspan)
photos from Jerusalem
A sukkah on the street in Nachlaot, Jerusalem (October 10, 2011, Nicole Greenspan)
photos from Jerusalem
A sukkah on the street in Nachlaot, Jerusalem (October 10, 2011, Nicole Greenspan)
photos from Jerusalem
One of the Lulav shops in the Macheneh Yehuda market, Jerusalem (October 10, 2011, Nicole Greenspan)
photos from Jerusalemh
The "shekel" store sells decorations for your sukkah in the Macheneh Yehuda market, Jerusalem (October 10, 2011, Nicole Greenspan)

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