Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Sukkot & Kohellet

Originally published on 9/30/07, 1:26 PM, Eastern Daylight Time.
Our Founding Director, Rabbi B. Hecht, wrote in the latest insight:
The difficulty with this answer, though, is that it still does not explain how Kohelet connects with the theme of Succot,
There is a really simple approach to this.

  1. Why is King Shlomoh Called Kohelet?
  2. Why is Kohelet read on Sukkot?
To answer this - I had come up with 2 points years ago. One point had already been published in Midrash Rabba on Kohelet **. [Baruch shkivanti.] Further embellished points emerged in a discussion based upon this model; see below.

Shlomoh was the FIRST king in the Temple. He was thus the FIRST King to perform Mitzvat Hakhel - hence the TITLE Kohelet. When is Hakhel Done? Sukkot. Hence the association with Sukkot. Ad Kahn my contribution

A fellow informed me during a recent conversation that the various parts of Kohellet [apparently he posits that the book is structured in 3 divisions] is that these were Drashot of Shlomoh WHILST conducting Hakhel during his career. [Hence the title of the BOOK.] Eventually, the redactors pasted them together as a single unit and became canonized later one -despite the controversial nature of these drashot.

Of course Rabbi Hecht will note that this post avoid all kinds of complexity. But this leaves the complexities to those addressed by Shlomoh/Kohellet himself.

Hag Sameyach,

** MY Cyber-chaver - R. Gershon Dubin pointed this out to me on the Avodah list MANY years ago! Then I pointed out that the name was explained, but the timing aspect originated with me.


Rabbi Richard Wolpoe said...

Note an upcoming post will discuss why is Sukkot "Zman Simchateinu?" This will dovetail well with this post


Rabbi Ben Hecht said...

Excellent point.

I think that this does simply explain the name and the connection to Succot. I still think that the ideas expressed in my Insight still have value for the need to explain why these words connect to simcha is still necessary.

micha berger said...

Since the kingdom split shortly after his passing, Shelomo haMelekh not only was the first to hold a Haq'hel ceremony, he was likely the last -- so far -- to be able to gather the majority of Benei Yisrael to the Beis haMiqdash.

There is a very sad Rashi at the beginning of Qoheles saying the book was written in this light. Shelomo was wise, and "eizehu chakham? haro'eh es hanolad." Therefore, as he got older, the king realized the country would split and his son would not rule over a united kingdom. Much of what he spent his life trying to build up was not to last. Thus the depressing mood of the book. "'Haval havalim', amar Qoheles, 'Havel havalim, hakol havel!'"

Rabbi Ben Hecht said...

The Insight to which Rabbi may be referring can be found on the Nishma website at