Today, I eat from G-d’s table.
What is the minimum size of a sukkah? Beis Hillel says that one must be able to insert one’s head and most of one’s body, so that one can eat in the sukkah. According to Bais Shammai, one must be able to also include the table that one is eating from.
Why does Bais Shammai care about the table? The table is not doing the mitzvah, the human being is doing the mitzvah and if he is in the sukkah, who cares about the table? Says Bais Shammai: Perhaps he will be “drawn after his table”.
One week a year, we leave the luxury of our homes and venture out into the sukkah where we remember that this physical life is temporary and fleeting. The experience refocuses us on our spiritual priorities and reminds us of our purpose and direction in life.
We are required to ‘live’ in the sukkah. We bring in our tables, chairs, beds, whatever we need to survive for a week outside the house. The table outside is completely in G-d’s hands – it demonstrates our complete faith that the Almighty provides our sustenance. We often forget where our bread is buttered – we believe that it is our hard work and smarts that got us life’s luxuries.
When we eat in the sukkah but our table is still inside the house, Bais Shammai is concerned that one will be “drawn after the table”. In other words, while he is physically eating in the sukkah, he still maintains his inside mindset – that he created all this material wealth and soon he’ll be back inside enjoying all the fruits of his success. Thus, leaving the table in the house misses the point of Sukkot.
Sukkot is an annual reminder of our Divine protection and sustenance. Every time we sit down at the table, let’s remind ourselves that the Almighty has provided all of our material prosperity. Let’s remember that ultimately we are eating from G-d’s table, His Altar, and not be “drawn after our table”.