How is living in your Sukkah similar to living in Israel?
When you walk into your Sukkah, it’s like entering into the holiness of the land of Israel.
Both of these two mitzvos – living in a Sukkah and living in Israel – are mitzvos that provide an immersive experience. You walk in the land of Israel, and your entire body is surrounded by Israel. You walk into the 4 walls of your sukkah, and your entire body is enveloped by the mitzvah of sukkah.
Every limb in your body is surrounded by the mitzvah. The holiness of the mitzvah can permeate your being without any extra effort on your part.
This parallel between Sukkos and Israel is hinted to in the passuk: “ויהי בשלם סכו ומעונתו בציון – God’s Sukkah is in Shaleim (Jerusalem) and His dwelling place is in Zion.” (Psalms 76:3)
Interestingly, there is another hint to this link between Sukkos and Israel in the word “ARAI” (עראי), used in the Talmud (Sukkah 2a) to describe the sukkah: “צא מדירת קבע ושב בדירת עראי – Leave your permanent dwelling and live in a temporary (עראי) dwelling.”
The Lekav V’Levuv points out that “ARAI” (עראי) is an acronym for the 4 locations listed in the Mishna (Gittin 1:1) to define the boundaries of Israel: אשקלון (Ashkalon) רקם (Rekem) עכו (Ako) and the sea (ים). Combining the first letters of each of these boundaries of Israel spells out “ARAI” (עראי), hinting to the Succah which is called “ARAI” (a temporary dwelling).
So the next time you walk into your sukkah, think about how you are enveloped by the holiness of the mitzvah, just as merely walking through the land of Israel immerses you in the holiness of the Land.