Shabbat Sukkot | 5768
| 17 Tishrei 5768 | 10/12/2007
On Chol Hamo’ed Sukkot, we read the megilla of Kohelet, which Chazal unanimously attribute to Shlomo Hamelech. The work, which is philosophical in nature, has certain unique characteristics. One of them, the fact that Kohelet is overall pessimistic about life, helped one opinion in Chazal to date it. R. Yonatan (Kohelet Rabba 1) says that Shlomo wrote Shir Hashirim, which is a metaphorical love song, when he was young; he wrote Mishlei, which contains intellectual parables, in his mature years; he wrote Kohelet, which negates the pursuits of man, in his old age. According to the Magen Avraham (490:8), this explains the fact that it is read during Sukkot. At that time, when there is so much rejoicing, it is necessary to put checks on the happiness with such statements as “joy, what does it do?” (Kohelet 2:2).
The Rama (Choshen Mishpat 176:19) writes: “[Regarding] a partner who became sick or was otherwise prevented from being involved in the partnership, it is not right that the other [partner] should earn and have to give to him, even if they made a kinyan at the time of the [formation of the] partnership [that they would share in that case]. However, if he was in a different city as an agent of the partnership and was prevented from returning, he has a part with them, and if there is a minhag among partners, they should do according to their minhag.”
Sukkot is a holiday of the land and the workers of the land. Its commandments are connected to the land. The four species grow from the ground. The s’chach grows from the ground and is described as being the leftover of the threshing floor and the winepress. The season is “when you gather – the holiday that comes at the time that you harvest” (Rosh Hashanah 13a). This holiday should have ostensibly symbolized the connections to the land and, thus, permanence. How surprising it is to find out that the holiday symbolizes disconnectedness and the temporary. As our Rabbis tell us, “go out from your permanent dwelling and sit in a temporary dwelling.”