The Torah tells us that three times during the year one must be Oleh Regel and ‘apppear before God – the God of Israel (Shemos - 34:23). The three times are the Shalosh Regalim of Pesach, Shevuos, and Sukkos.
This was indeed a commandment during the days of the Beis HaMikdash. Thus pilgrimages were massive during these three times of the year. There is a line in Shir HaShrim (7:2) which says, ‘How beautiful are your steps…’ The Gemarah in Sukkah (49b) explains that this refers to the steps of Israel when they ascend to Jerusalem during those three times of the year.
Although we now have no Beis HaMikdash, I have in recent years made my own pilgrimage of sorts to the holy land on at least one of those three holidays – Sukkos.
It is now Erev Sukkos and it’s a strange feeling for me. This is the first time in 5 years that I will not be in Israel for Yom Tov. For the first time in 5 years I have had to put up my own Sukkah. It is a wood one and the panels were a little heavier than I remembered.
I am looking forward to Yom Tov but with a touch of sadness that I will not be enjoying it in the holy land with my son and his family as I have for the past five years.
That said - I am fortunate to have all three of my daughters living in Chicago – one right next door to me. I will be seeing a lot of all three of them and their families over Yom Tov. Living in Chicago where many of my friends have all or most of their married children living out of town – makes me realize just how lucky I am.
God has been very good to me and my family and I am very grateful to Him for all his blessings.
I take this opportunity to wish my readers and all of Klal Yisroel: Chag Sameach - Have a wonderful and joyous Yom Tov !