In the Mishnah, the tractate Aboth i.2 states that the world is “sustained” by three things: The Law (Torah), the temple service, and the good deeds. This statement presents, in a nutshell, the great importance of the temple for Judaism, and the centrality of the idea of the sanctuary for the Jewish Faith.
The Mishnah tells the story of four famous sages who entered the Pardes, the mystical paradise of the apocalyptic vision.1 No one survived the visit, however. The first died right away, the second lost his faith, and the third became demented. As for the fourth . . . , he proclaimed himself the Messiah.
This parable brings us—with a smile—an important warning: the concept of the apocalypse is, indeed, a dangerous one. It has an aura of death, doom, and fear about it. Thus, before we venture into the biblical book of the Apocalypse, we need, therefore, to prepare ourselves and make sure that we will read it and understand it the way God meant it to be.
The festival of Sukkot is a special time of rejoicing (Lev 23:40). One of the unique mitvos associated with this holiday is the mitzvah to dwell in a sukkah. The sukkah, a temporary dwelling used during the first seven days of Sukkot, is a reminder of the protective clouds of glory that HaShem surrounded the people of Israel with during their wilderness wanderings.