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.
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