If Sukkos is teaching us the spiritual lesson of Hashem’s Providence, that Hashem is watching over us and protecting us, how does that fit in with the idea that it’s Chag Ha’asif, the festival of gathering in the crops? Doesn’t that seem to be a material, a physical joy?
And the answer is, everything is physical and everything is spiritual.
When we gather in the harvest, we do it with the understanding that this is the birkas Hashem. We understand that it’s only because of Hashem that we have a harvest. A harvest is not an accident after all. Can anybody in the world produce food? Even with all the technology, all the advances in technology, they are still unable to produce food. Nobody can make a grain of wheat. Nobody can produce a barley. Nobody can make an apple. And therefore, the harvest is nothing but tokens; we gather in tokens of the miracles of food.
Only Hakodosh Boruch Hu knows the processes of producing life-sustaining food from sunlight and water and carbon dioxide and a little bit of materials from the earth. Food is miracles of miracles. And therefore, when we take in the harvest it certainly is a demonstration that Hakodosh Boruch Hu is in charge of the world.
And the fact that He has granted us this harvest makes us happy in the fact that Hakodosh Boruch Hu is with us. And we therefore utilize the abundance of the soil, the wealth that nature gives us, to appreciate that all this is nothing else than the Handiwork of Hakodosh Boruch Hu, the great Designer, the great Engineer, the great Agriculturist. Call Him whatever you wish but it’s Hashem! הא-ל הגדול הגבור והנורא קונה שמים וארץ.
And therefore it’s as fitting on the Festival of the Harvest to be more aware of the providence of Hashem than on any other occasion.
TAPE # 476 (October 1983)