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Economic Justice: An Overview
One of Sukkot's names is Z'man Simchateinu, the Time of Rejoicing. While we are commanded to rejoice abundantly at this time of year, we also must assist others who are financially incapable of rejoicing. According to Maimonides, proper observance of Sukkot requires that we feed those around us who are in need. Hunger and poverty were facts of life in Maimonides' time and unfortunately continue to be major concerns in our time. Thus, the scholar reminds us to be particularly attentive to the needs of others even in the midst of our celebration.
The observance of Sukkot offers many opportunities to consider a variety of social action themes. We are commanded to live in temporary booths for seven days, to remind us of the time when our wandering ancestors had to dwell in sukkot following the exodus from Egypt. This naturally draws to mind those who are homeless, or who must live in temporary housing all year round, unable to procure a permanent home of their own. We have the privilege of returning to our homes following the seven days, but there are many who have no homes to which they can return.