Sukkah – True Happiness
Only after all this comes Sukkos. Now that we realize spirituality is our purpose, we can properly rejoice over the gifts we have received from Hashem. Until then, it was all hevel. In order to internalize this message the Torah commands us to move to the sukkah. By doing so, we turn all our mundane actions into mitzvos. Eating, drinking, sleeping, talking – they all becomes elevated. And in truth, the sukkah should not be a forlorn, dilapidated hut. The Shulchan Aruch (OC 639:1) tells us that we should take our nice furniture and fancy utensils out to the sukkah (as long as they won’t get stolen or ruined!). There, we have delicious Yom Tov meals and enjoy them immensely! Hashem made this world to be enjoyed – but only in the proper context – for doing mitzvos. The sukkah teaches us the true purpose of materialism.
And this will bring us true joy. One who makes materialism a goal onto itself will never be happy. He will always be looking for more and more pleasures. When he finally fulfills one desire he will look for the next one. By realizing that spirituality is our desire and materialism is just a means to reach that goal, we will be overjoyed with what we have. By living this way during Chag HaSukkos and hearing it from the “man who had it all” – Shlomo Hamelech – we will have learnt to abandon the foolish mindset of our generation.
Thus, Sukkos is the most joyful Yom Tov. We can now truly be satisfied and happy with all of the gains of the past year. We celebrate all our spiritual accomplishments, with the first and foremost being the closeness we felt to Hashem on the Yomim HaNoraim and the atonement of Yom Kippur. We celebrate all the wealth which we received over the last year, be it small or large. Our families, our health, the two thousand (!) pounds of food which Hashem gave each and every one of us…the list goes on and on! And finally, on the last day, Simchas Torah, we rejoice with the greatest present – the Torah, our deep connection to Hashem.
We all know that wherever we have opportunities for greatness the Yetzer Hora tries to stop us. Let us make sure to be in a state of happiness no matter what happens on Sukkos. Even when things don’t go the way we planned, just think about how we are truly wealthy and not let trivial matters bother us. With a little effort and contemplation we can tap into the happiness of these days. Vehayisa ach same’ach!
About the Author: Rabbi Eliezer M. Niehaus, raised and educated in Los Angeles and subsequently Yeshivas Toras Moshe in Yerushalayim, is the Rosh Kollel of the Zichron Aron Yaakov Kollel in Kiryat Sefer , Israel. He lectures for the public and is the director of the Chasdei Rivka Free Loan Gemach. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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