EDITOR’S NOTE: Posted with permission from Rabbi Elana, CBA, Billings. I know this is late, but still worth contemplating, in my opinion. Joy

Hillel International has a program called Ask Big Questions which we have appropriated for use in Billings, MT, at Congregation Beth Aaron (where I am the student Rabbi). Each week, I will pose a different “big” question to allow us to ponder a different aspect of our lives and how we live them. This particular textual immersion was on the question: “What is shelter for you?”

There are no questions with each text, as they are meant to stir different things in each person. Please enjoy the texts and delve into them. They are meant for either personal contemplation or communal reflection. If you would like to engage me in conversation, I am more than willing to participate. Please email me at

Elana Nemitoff
Rabbinical Student – HUC-JIR, 2018

Follow my Journey at:

Dear Congregation Beth Aaron,

I hope all is well! I write to send you the questions from the second in the set of Ask Big Questions. This is about what shelters you. I invite you to delve into the texts and discover what shelter means to you and how you find shelter. Please feel free to share your thoughts or reactions with me; I’d love to hear what you think!

Shavuah tov,

Rabbi Elana, CBA, Billings

What is shelter for you?
Lunch and Learn
Shabbat Chol HaMoed Sukkot ~ 3 October 2015
Student Rabbi Elana Nemitoff
Leviticus 23:4243
בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל, ; בַּסֻּכֹּת תֵּשְׁבוּ, שִׁבְעַת יָמִים
יֵשְׁבוּ, בַּסֻּכֹּת. לְמַעַן, יֵדְעוּ דֹרֹתֵיכֶם, כִּי בַסֻּכּוֹת
הוֹשַׁבְתִּי אֶתבְּנֵי
יִשְׂרָאֵל, בְּהוֹצִיאִי אוֹתָם מֵאֶרֶץ
מִצְרָיִם: אֲנִי, יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם.
You shall dwell in booths seven days; all the
citizens in Israel shall dwell in booths; that
your generations may know that I made the
children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I
brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am
Adonai your God.
Jonah 4:5
וַיַּעַשׂ לוֹ שָׁם ; וַיֵּצֵא יוֹנָה מִןהָעִיר,
וַיֵּשֶׁב מִקֶּדֶם לָעִיר
סֻכָּה, וַיֵּשֶׁב תַּחְתֶּיהָ בַּצֵּל, עַד אֲשֶׁר יִרְאֶה, מַהיִּהְיֶה
Then Jonah went out of the city, and sat on
the east side of the city, and there made him
a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he
might see what would become of the city.
Isaiah 4:56
וּבָרָא יְהוָה עַל כָּלמְכוֹן
יוֹמָם וְעָשָׁן, וְנֹגַהּ אֵשׁ לֶהָבָה, לָיְלָה: כִּי
וּלְמַחְסֶה, ; וְסֻכָּה תִּהְיֶה לְצֵליוֹמָם,
וּלְמִסְתּוֹר, מִזֶּרֶם, וּמִמָּטָר.
And God will create over the whole habitation of
mount Zion, and over her assemblies, a cloud
and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming
fire by night; for over all the glory shall be a
canopy . A nd there shall be a p avilion for a
shadow in the daytime
from the heat, and
for a refuge and for a covert from storm and
from rain.
Psalm 31:21
תַּסְתִּירֵם, בְּסֵתֶר פָּנֶיךָמֵרֻכְסֵיאִישׁ:
מֵרִיב לְשֹׁנוֹת. ; תִּצְפְּנֵם בְּסֻכָּה
You grant them the protection of Your
presence from the plottings of man; You
shelter them in a pavilion from the strife of
Job 36:29
תְּשֻׁאוֹת, סֻכָּתוֹ. ; אַף אִםיָבִין,
Yea, can any understand the spread of the
clouds, the crashings of God’s shelter ?
הַשְׁכִּיבֵנוּ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ לְשָׁלוֹם וְהַעֲמִידֵנוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ לְחַיִּים.
וּפְרוֹשׂ עָלֵינוּ סֻכַּת שְׁלוֹמֶךָ וְתַקְּנֵנוּ בְּעֵצָה טוֹבָה
מִלְּפָנֶיךָ וְהוֹשִׁיעֵנוּ לְמַעַן שְׁמֶךָ וְהָגֵן בַּעֲדֵנוּ. וְהָסֵר
מֵעָלֵינוּ אוֹיֵב דֶּבֶר וְחֶרֶב וְרָעָב וְיָגוֹן וְהָסֵר שָׂטָן
מִלְּפָנֵינוּ וּמֵאַחֲרֵינוּ וּבְצֵל כְּנָפֶיךָ תַּסְתִּירֵנוּ כִּי אֵל
שׁוֹמְרֵנוּ וּלְשָׁלוֹם מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ
הַפּוֹרֵשׂ סֻכַּת שָׁלוֹם עָלֵינוּ וְעַל כָּל עַמּוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְעַל
Grant that we may lie down in peace, Eternal God, and
awaken us to life. Shelter us with Your tent of peace
and guide us with Your good counsel. Shield us from
hatred, plague and destruction. Keep us from war
famine and anguish. Help us to deny our inclination to
evil. God of peace, may we always feel protected
because You are our Guardian and Helper. Give us
refuge in the shadow of Your wings. Guard our going
forth and our coming in and bless us with life and
peace. Blessed are You, Eternal God, whose shelter of
peace is spread over us, over all Your people Israel,
and over Jerusalem.
Ray LaMontagne
“I tell you what we’re gonna do. You will shelter me, my love. I will shelter you.”
David Brooks, “The Power of Marriage,” The New York Times, November 22, 2003
Marriage joins two people in a sacred bond. It demands that they make an exclusive commitment to
one another and…take two discrete individuals and turn them into kin. Few of us work as hard at the
vocation of marriage as we should. But marriage makes us better than we deserve to be. Even in the
chores of daily life, married couples find themselves…coming closer together, fusing into one flesh.
Married people who remain committed to each other find that they reorganize and deepen each other’s
lives. They may eventually come to the point when they can say to each other: ‘Love you? I am you!’
we sit here in our sukkot
built with love
decorated with…fruit…vegetables…sweet pictures
enjoying the fall breeze
we sit here in our sukkot
inviting guests
to dine with…meat…vegetables…fruit…sweet drink
enjoying the bounty
we sit here in our sukkot
while thousands seek shelter
running from…fear…war…rape…death
hoping for life
we sit here in our sukkot
and ask:
we built it with love
we invite guests
how do we open it to the (hundreds of) thousands seeking shelter?
we sit here in our sukkot

Posted on October 19, 2015, in 2015, 5776, Events, October, Ram's Horn, Sukkot, TISHREI. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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