Chol HaMo-eid Sukkot

Holidays Exodus 33:12–34:26

D’var Torah By: Shira Milgrom for ReformJudaism.org

The Torah reading for the Shabbat of Sukkot (Exodus 33:12–34:26) includes the reconciliation between God and Moses following the Golden Calf, the inscription of the second set of the Ten Commandments, and the verbal covenant that accompanies this second giving. Two brief sections have direct connections to the holiday of Sukkot. The first is God’s response to Moses’s request for more knowledge of the Divine Essence. Moses, in essence, has said to God, “I can’t go on unless You tell me more about Yourself.” This answer has been parsed as the Thirteen Attributes of God, and is included as a liturgical addition to the Torah service on festival mornings:

“The Eternal! The Eternal! a God compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness and faithfulness, extending kindness to the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin—yet not remitting all punishment, but visiting the iniquity of parents upon children and children’s children, upon the third and fourth generations” (Exodus 34:6–7).

The second section with connection to Sukkot is a listing of the three—or more—festivals themselves. The mention of the festivals is part of what may be seen as an alternative (older?) version of the Ten Commandments. This is a summary of Exodus 34:10–26: