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A Fragile Peace
Wed, 09/26/2012 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week


The evening prayer for peace, the Hashkeveinu, asks God to “spread a sukkah of peace” over us. Why a “sukkah” of peace?

The most important characteristic about the sukkah is that it is fragile. If a sukkah is too sturdily built it is not kosher. From the outside it may appear as if it will endure, but a single powerful wind threatens the entire structure.

So it is with peace between people and between nations. There is always a gunshot in the wings that can change everything in an instant. Some of the most destructive confrontations in history were precipitated by a single act; some of the most corrosive fights between individuals are the product of a single word.

Invoking the Messianic age, we pray for the restoration of the “fallen sukkah of David.” The imagery reminds us how easily we can lose the blessings we have; how fragile our personal and civil worlds can be. The words the Rabbis tell us God spoke to Adam and Eve about the garden remain profoundly true — tend it well, for if it is destroyed there is no one after you to restore it again.

Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. Follow his teachings at

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