“Death is very likely the single best invention of Life,” said Steve Jobs during his 2005 Stanford Commencement address. This phrase aptly describes one of the themes underlying the most joyous Biblical festival, Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles).
Before beginning the Passover seder meal, which falls half a year distant from Sukkot, we extend an invitation to those who are hungry to join us. However, before the Sukkot meal, we invite seven dead people to join us; Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and David. Sounds a little like Halloween dinner at Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion doesn’t it?
Yes, Sukkot, which is set by an exquisitely precise lunar calendar, always occurs close to Halloween. That time of the year as the leaves die and the days get colder and shorter, can feel quite lifeless. Hence Halloween’s frivolous mocking of death. Sukkot’s association with death couldn’t be more different.