As the sun set, the family gathered in their sukkah, overlooking the barren fields. Nothing but dry stubble remained. They lit the festival candles and recited the blessing. They raised a glass of wine and recited kiddush. Then Chaim and Miriam explained to their daughters the custom of Ushpizin.

"Sukkot is called Z'man Simchateinu, the Season of our Rejoicing. Perhaps we don't have crops to rejoice about this year, but we certainly have a wonderful crop of children for which we are thankful," Chaim began.

"It is a custom to invite symbolic guests each day to the sukkah," Miriam continued. "Each day of Sukkot, we will invite Abraham and Sarah; Isaac and Rebecca; Jacob, Rachel, and Leah; Joseph and Abigail; Moses and Miriam; Aaron and Deborah; and David and Esther in turn. They all wandered during their life, in one way or another, and so we offer them hospitality in our sukkah, the symbol of our people's wandering for forty years in the wilderness."

"Since tonight is the first night of Sukkot," Chaim added, but he did not have an opportunity to complete his thought, because Aliza interrupted him.

"Let's invite Elijah to our Sukkah tonight, Abba and Ema! I cannot think of a more wonderful guest."

"Oh yes, let's," Rachel and Naomi chimed in.

The parents smiled and nodded.

At just that moment a beggar appeared at the opening of their sukkah. There were so many beggars these days, with the drought as bad as it had been, that no one was surprised. "May I join you?" he asked quietly.

"What a wonderful time for you to join us," Miriam said cheerfully. "We are having a feast and it will taste better if we share it with you."

The beggar was dressed in rags. He was barefoot and an old length of rope held up his pants. He was tall and thin, and seemed quite old though strong. Despite his ragged appearance, on his head he wore a tall top hat adorned with sequins. It seem quite out of place, and the family wondered where a man without shoes had acquired such a hat. But they said nothing about it.

The beggar joined them in reciting the Motzi over the bread, and together they all enjoyed the feast that the girls had provided.

When the meal was over, the beggar stood up and removed his hat. With a twinkle in his eye, he looked at the three girls and said," You have been looking at my hat all through the meal. Perhaps you are wondering what is in such a large hat?"

With that, he turned it over and and reach his hand inside. He pulled out a loaf of bread. The family gasped. He reached in again and pulled out an apple. Then another and another. Reaching in again, he pulled out more and more food until the table in the sukkah was piled high with food.

"He's a magician, for sure," Naomi whispered to Rachel.

"Perhaps," Rachel replied.

The beggar reached in again and pulled out a shirt.

"For you," he said to Chaim, handing him the shirt.

Reaching in again, he pulled out another garment, and many more after it, until he had produced clothing for the entire family.

Finally he reached in one last time and pulled out a small leather pouch much like the one in which the girls had kept their earnings all summer.

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