A TorahTutors student was going on an extended family vacation and in lieu of a session, her parents requested material she could learn independently while away, to review with her tutor upon their return. (Note: This one is a throwback tidbit, pre-pandemic and travel concerns.)
They were learning Parshat Re’eh at the time, and the tutor designed an assignment through which she would read through the parsha with tasks to help her read actively and thoughtfully; for instance, she was asked to find a certain number of mitzvot in each chapter, which they could then discuss more deeply with the help of the Sefer HaChinuch.
One mitzvah she learned about was the requirement of going to the Beit Hamikdash three times a year: on Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot (Deuteronomy 16:16; Chinuch mitzvah #489). The Chinuch notes, from the Talmud, that the pilgrimage is one of three requirements on each of the Three Festivals – the other two are chagigah (celebration) and simcha (joy) – and he suggests that its goal is to instill a sense of active connection to God.
Without the Beit Hamikdash, we are unable to fulfill the mitzvah as required, but especially on the heels of Yom Kippur we can strive to build a sense of connection in other ways, wherever we are. And we can strive to celebrate with joy.
A Tuesday TorahTutors Tidbit: Real Torah, from real TorahTutors sessions.