Sukkot, Hurricane Andrew and the Fragility of Life

I will never forget how pitiful it was in 1992, when Hurricane Andrew ravaged our southern coast for 40 hours. 44 lives were lost, billions of dollars of damage were inflicted upon homeowners and the entire world stood in awe after witnessing how fragile life can be. After one storm wreaked havoc upon thousands, battering communities and leaving so many once secure now homeless, people deeply appreciated the many blessings they are indeed entrusted with.
Hurricane Andrew occurred right before the festival of Sukkot, which Jews will observe this year starting tonight, October 8th. We voluntarily leave the security of our homes to remember how G‑d protected our ancestors travelling in the desert for 40 years before they ultimately entered Israel. We choose to do this and we recall how blessed we are to have daily shelter.
May all the many blessings that we are endowed with always be appreciated as we thank G‑d for our many gifts. Starting tonight, we eat in the Sukkah all meals and the tomorrow morning we do the mitzvah of Lulav and Estrog. Thank G‑d we don't need a hurricane to appreciate the great blessings of our fortunate lives.
Rabbi Areyah Kaltmann