Sukkos 5783


Adorned Sukkah; beautified Temple[1]

זה קלי ואנוהו התנאה לפניו במצות עשה לפניו סוכה נאה ולולב נאה ושופר נאה צצית נאה ספר תורה נאה
This is my G-d ve’anvehu: Become beautified before Him in mitzvos: Make before Him a nice Sukkah, nice Lulav, a nice Shofar, nice tzitzis, a nice sefer Torah[2]

An interesting question is brought[3] in the name of the Avnei Nezer. We find special emphasis given to decorating our Sukkas[4]. There’s a category in halacha known as noi sukkah, which discusses the status of the decorations of the Sukkah. Stores try their utmost to stock up on all the greatest posters and streamers and sparkly glitter, and the like. Presumably, this is in order to beautify the mitzvah. We do find such a concept, of beautifying our mitzvos. However, as the principle sounds, this applies to all mitzvos[5], not just decorating our Sukkah. Why then is there this extra emphasis, specifically with regards to the mitzvah of Sukkah?

The source for beautifying our mitzvos is a verse[6] in the Song at Sea. The Torah says זה קלי ואנוהו, this is my G-d, and I will נוה Him. Onkelos translates[7] it as the verb to build an abode, and understands it to be a reference to building a Temple for Hashem. However, the gemarra understands[8] the word to be related to the verb to beautify. We learn from here the concept that we should “beautify Hashem”, meaning, beautify His mitzvos. These two interpretations seem to be worlds apart. However, both can be true at the same time.

There are many references to the Temple as being a Sukkah. A verse in Psalms[9] says that in Shalem is His Sukkah, and the Aramaic translation explains this to mean in Jerusalem is the Temple[10]. We refer to the fallen Sukkah of David[11] during Sukkos, a seeming reference to the Temple[12]. In fact, verses referring to the pilgrimage to the Temple during Pesach[13] and Shavuos[14] mention it being a place where the Divine Presence rests. However, a similar verse for Sukkos[15] makes no mention of the Temple being a place of the Divine Presence[16]. This is because during the Festival of Sukkos, the Divine Presence rests in our Sukkas. Every Sukkah becomes like a miniature Temple[17].

The two interpretations of ואנוהו now come together beautifully. On the one hand, it’s a reference to building the Temple. Well, when we build a Sukkah, we are in a way building a Temple for Hashem on our very own property. At the same time, it’s a reference to beautifying Hashem’s mitzvos. Since the mitzvah of Sukkah brings both interpretations to fruition, it’s no wonder then why it’s the most decorated of all mitzvos.

Chag Sameach and Gut Moed!

[1] Based on a shiur given by Rav Daniel Glatstein, found at

[2] Shabbos 133b

[3] Rav Glatstein cited this question from the third volume of Naos Desheh, but I think he meant Naos HaDesheh I Sukkos § 3

[4] See Shabbos 22a

[5] Ibid 133b

[6] Exodus 15:2

[7] Ad. loc.

[8] Shabbos loc. cit.

[9] Psalms 76:2

[10] See also Zohar I p. 172b and Midrash Tehillim 2:17

[11] Amos 9:11

[12] Be’er Mayim Chayim to Genesis 33:17. See also Pesikta Rabbasi § 29. Cf. Maharal, elucidated in

[13] Deuteronomy 16:2

[14] Ibid v. 11

[15] Ibid v. 15

[16] This point is picked up by the Meschech Chochmah to ibid v. 2

[17] Rav Glatstein cited this from Rav Yerucham Ulshin, presumably from Yerach LaMoadim