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Our joy on Sukkos reflects that confidence and therefore is a vital continuation of our efforts on Yom Kippur. Perhaps that is why the judgments that were sealed on Yom Kippur are not dispatched to the world until Hoshanah Rabbah[3]. G-d waits to see if we believe in our own efforts before He dispatches the sealed verdict to this world. Even one who did not emerge meritoriously from the precise judgments of the Days of Awe, has a chance to accrue merits and alter the decree before Hoshanah Rabbah.

If one demonstrates genuine inner joy at the opportunity afforded to him to reconnect with His Creator during these days, that itself is an incredible merit which can alter the judgment.

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[1] The following essay is based on the lecture given at Kehillat New Hempstead, second day of Sukkos 5770. I originally heard the story from Rabbi Zechariah Wallerstein.

[2] Literally ‘the joy of the water drawing,’ our celebrations commemorate the magnificent celebrations that transpired during the days of Sukkos when the Bais Hamikdash stood in Yerushalayim. Those vents were centered around the pouring of the water libations down the side of the Mizbayach, hence the name of the event.

[3] The seventh and final day of Sukkos (immediately followed by the new holiday of Shemini Atzeres) has an aura of judgment and has many similarities with Yom Kippur, as revealed to us in the holy and mystical Zohar. We recite added prayers and there is an added dimension of solemnity that merges with the joy of the holiday.

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