Rabbi Dovid Saks
Everyone hopes for happiness in their lives, and everyone seeks to find happiness in their unique and distinct way. King David in Psalms tells us, “Serve G-d with Simcha – gladness, come before Him with joyous song.” We see that happiness is a key element and ingredient in serving G-d.
How can this be acquired?
We are about to embark on the celebration of the Holiday of Succos. Simcha – Joy is attached to all the festivals of the year. However, concerning the holiday of Succos, the Torah accentuates the requirement of Simcha - joy.
Our Sages explain that feelings of Simcha are pronounced on Succos because we just experienced the atonement of Yom Kippur and are now spiritually recharged and confident. We thus carry this special feeling of joy with us as we enter into the Holiday of Succos.
Our Sages tell us that the four species – Lulav, Esrog etc. are extremely pleasant to the eye and they impart a feeling of joy. Additionally, there is a Mitzvah to eat meat and drink wine on Succos, which brings a person a feeling of Simcha.
Surprisingly, the Mitzvah of dwelling in a simple hut – a Succah during the Holiday of Succos also brings a person a sense of Simcha.
How is that? After all, we leave the comforts of our home to this makeshift hut with a simple covering that consists of detached branches, stalks and bamboo. What is the secret behind this joy?
The Zohar – our Kabalah teaches us that a Succah on the Holiday is invested with the Shelter of G-d’s presence! Our performance in this holy environment inspires us with a feeling of security and the realization that all the gifts of life come from the Almighty.
Have you ever observed that children are basically happy? And it doesn’t take much to make them happy. Why is that? It is because they have a sense of security that all will be provided for them and they are not bogged down worrying about the future.
In a way, when going into the Succah we display that we have nothing to worry about for we are in the shade of the Almighty. We enact and physically display our straightforward trust that G-d will assist, help and provide for all our needs.
You may ask, “Okay, this feeling of joy can carry us through the holiday, but what will give us the energized feeling of Simcha – joy and contentment throughout the year?”
Rabbi Dovid Feinstein explains that the verse regarding Simcha pertaining to Succos specifies the idea of Simcha twice. The first, commands us to conduct ourselves in a Simcha mode throughout the Holiday. The second mention of the word Simcha, is G-d’s guarantee that an element of the joy that was experienced over the holiday will extend and continue within a person throughout the entire year!
Rabbi Feinstein points out an interesting Gematria – The numerical sum of the word Same’ach – joyous – equals 348. When you add 7, representing the seven days of Succos it equals 355, which is the Gematria of the word Shanah – a year! Thus it hints to us that the element of joy we display during Succos will extend throughout the entire year!
Succos, is our G-d given - rather simple and inexpensive elixir to promote our inner happiness. It is up to us to make it happen!
Wishing you a most enjoyable and exciting Succos!
Rabbi Dovid and Malki Saks and family