Sukot reminds us of when we wandered in the desert, protected by the clouds of G-d. We remember this by eating in a Sukah, a temporary dwelling with foliage acting as a roof, symbolizing the overhead clouds that protected us when we left Egypt.
Another mitzvah of Sukot is the four species which we hold together. Our sages explain that one of the themes of the four species, is that it represents four types of Jews. Some study Torah, some excel in performing mitzvot, and some don’t. Nevertheless, the only way to perform this mitzvah, is to hold all four types together. Similarly we need to hold all Jews together as one united Jewish body. Ahavat Yisroel, love of a fellow Jew, is paramount. Especially in these days of protests and demonstrations in Israel and other places, this mitzvah, loving a fellow Jew, is so important.
Perhaps both mitzvot are connected. We merit G-d’s protection when we are a united people. Indeed many have a custom to perform the mitzvah of holding the four species together, in a Sukah.
Chol Hamoied (the days between the first and last days of Yom Tov — the Festival days) is actually a bit of an oxymoron. Chol means mundane, weekday, while moied means holiday. Chol Hamoied is a combination of not allowing some types of work, while at the same time allowing many weekday activities.
Perhaps it’s a special time and opportunity to combine holiness with mundane, to elevate the mundane by infusing it with holiness.
In the times of the Temple in Jerusalem, the Simchat Beit Hashoeva, the happiness of the water drawing, was celebrated during Sukot. Scholars danced, juggled, and rejoiced, and their happiness reflected to all the people. Nowadays many celebrate Simchat Beit Hashoeva, often singing and dancing in the streets.
What is it about our people? Persecuted, downtrodden, exiled, but not only do we not give up, we dance. We rejoice. Because we are confident that G-d Almighty will redeem us soon.
Happiness and joy. Sukot is a time when we remember the past miracles, acknowledge present miracles, and look forward to future miracles, which will be even more miraculous than ever.
May we celebrate this Sukot with love and compassion for one another, and may we merit to celebrate this Sukot in our eternal Temple in Jerusalem, when the whole world will be peaceful, and all nations will acknowledge G-d.