Something ’bout Sukkot
7 years ago Leighest 0
By Archie Weindruch
We recently experienced Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, which, of all our holidays, are the most serious and intense. For hours on end, we spoke with HaShem in order to prepare ourselves and ensure a positive year of life, health, success, and plenty. The tunes which send shivers down spines and the Shofar which speaks directly to our souls inspired us to return to our essential connection with G-d on this during these days of repentance and atonement.
Now we face the beginning of another holiday, Sukkot. Seeming to completely contrast the severe nature of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, Sukkot is called the “Time of our Rejoicing”. A whole holiday is given to us with the message, “Be joyous”. Riiiight. Where’s the catch? In actuality, the literal interpretation holds true. During Sukkot it is our imperative to be extremely happy.
As Chassidus explains, that which we accomplished through fasting during Yom Kippur can be achieved through joy during Sukkot. Take a moment to consider that.
The immense power of serving G-d with glee is shown. Not only are the positive effects of your mitzvot everlasting, but they can be innumerably multiplied when you act joyously.
In performing mitzvot repeatedly, it is possible for them to become routine, meaningless. We avoid that negative decline by focusing our efforts through the lens of happiness. With each mitzvah as a source of immense joy, you elevate your service to HaShem and always eagerly anticipate doing a good deed. During Sukkot, we cast away all distracting influences in order to realize our purpose and positive potential.
This explanation, however, begs a question. What is our potential?
As Jews, we have been given the blueprint, Torah, to reveal every spark of G-dliness in this world. But if one Jew can transform the world, then why are we meant to be “as numerous as the stars in the sky”. Are we all redundancies, extras?
For that answer, we look to another staple of Sukkot: the Lulav and Etrog.
Date palm branches, myrtle branches, willow branches, and large citrus fruits do not amount to much individually. Alone, each component is just a piece with its own characteristics. Each Jew has his own limitations and traits. In both cases, nothing alone can do the full job. It is when the parts become a whole that sticks and fruit become the Lulav and Etrog which we shake in the Sukkah and which channels otherwise unaccessible levels of G-dliness into this world.
During Sukkot, we are given another message that we must take our differences and realize that they do not separate us from our fellows. They actually provide the means for all people to do their specific mission in our single campaign to elevate this world.
With every person covering the territory which only his soul is able to transform, the Jewish people reach our total potential to serve G-d.