Is there a connection between Yom Kippur and Sukkos?
The answer is that there is an obvious connection. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are occasions of proclaiming the malchus Hashem. It’s המלך הקדוש and ותמלוך אתה all day long. The entire tefillos of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are permeated with the concept of Melech.
Now, once we establish in our minds the awareness that ‘Hashem Melech’ then it follows that He is in charge; He supervises. Hashgacha, providence; everything is under the control of Hashem.
And that is exactly what Sukkos is telling us. כי בסוכות הושבתי את בני ישראל בהוציאי אותם מארץ מצרים – I caused them to dwell in Sukkos when I took them out of Egypt. They didn’t have walled cities with permanent strong buildings. They dwelled in tents, in tabernacles, in flimsy edifices that were no protection against invaders. At that time, in the Midbar, they were the most unprotected in all of their history. And yet, never in history subsequently were they as secure as they were in the Midbar. Never again did they have such guarantee for their safety as they had in these little flimsy sukkos. How could that be if they had no walls, no brick homes?
And the answer is the schach. The schach symbolizes that there’s nothing on top of you to protect you, only the glory of Hashem. It was Hashem’s especial providence that caused them to be more secure in the wilderness than even later when they had walled cities.
And that’s the lesson of Sukkos, that we live always in the sukkas shloimecha; we live in the protection of Hashem.
Even now, although we are not as secure as our forefathers were – we don’t have the same amount of hashgacha to protect us – but Hakodosh Boruch Hu is still with us today as always. Only that in those days, it was most evident. The Shechina was overhead, the ananei hakavod, and the purpose was to teach the people a lesson for all generations, that even when there won’t be ananei hakavod, we have to remember that Hakodosh Boruch Hu still hovers over His people.
All other nations in the course of time fall and are swallowed up by the earth, but the Am Yisroel will continue forever. No matter how weak we seem to be, we should always be reminded that we are the strongest of nations because Hakodosh Boruch Hu is with us.
And therefore, the sukkah is a corollary of malchus Hashem. Sukkos is the bitachon, the emunah, the confidence which comes from the awareness of Hashem our King. And that awareness, of course, is what we learn by the avodah of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
TAPE # 476 (October 1983)