Gilad Shalit in the Sukkah of Shalom

When we recite Grace After Meals on Sukkot, we add a special line:  “Ha-Rachaman hu yakeem et Sukkat David ha-nofalet – May the Merciful One raise the fallen Sukkah of David.”  I’ve always been perplexed by this liturgical addition.  Why can’t we simply enjoy the Sukkah in which we are sitting without wishing for a different one to be rebuilt (even IF the prayer is talking about the Temple in Jerusalem)?  It’s almost as if the rabbis were saying that a moment or a week of joy is not enough.  We should be seeking to make the entire world a better place.

I feel the same way about the release of Gilad Shalit.  It should be a moment of unadulterated joy.  Yet, it seems as if everyone is focusing on how the deal could have been better.  In fact, one newspaper reported how nobody is really happy with this deal.

The truth is, though, that this deal is not enough.  As wonderful as it is for Gilad Shalit to be reunited with his family, the cycle is going to start all over again.  Hamas is already planning for more kidnappings.  Nothing has changed between Palestinians in Israelis.  There are no warm, fuzzy feelings.

In the Friday Evening Service, we bless God for spreading a Sukkah of Shalom (peace) over us.  Gilad Shalit has returned to that Sukkah.  I pray that he will experience healing of body and soul now that he is home.  Yet, I can’t help but think that there is a lot more work to be done enlarging, expanding and enhancing and that Sukkah of Shalom – “Ha-Rachaman hu yakeem et sukkat David ha-nofalet.”





About Rabbi Avi Friedman

I am the rabbi of Congregation Ohr Shalom - SJCC, a progressive Conservative and traditional congregation. I am also husband to Jodi as well as father to Gabi, Jonah, Jessica and Ilana. I have been a part of the Summit community since 2005.
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