The Joy of Succot

The holiday of Succot is known also as Zman Simchateinu, the time of our joy. This joy was felt on a much larger scale during the time of the Temple. The Talmud describes the intense happiness that was felt during the ceremonies of the water libations. There was singing and dancing and the playing of musical instruments.

There were four pillars with four receptacles erected in the Temple courtyard. Young Kohanim, (Priests) would climb these pillars and literally light up Jerusalem! Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Chanania related that the celebrations were so exciting that people barely slept during the whole week of Succot.

The Book of Our Heritage makes an interesting point related to the joy of Succot. People at this time were not concerned with their social status. Certain rabbis who were very learned would juggle torches and entertain. The feeling that everyone was one family celebrating together made the atmosphere much more special. King David set the tone for this when he led the singing and dancing when the Holy Ark was brought to Jerusalem. The friendship, love, and togetherness help make Succot that much more special. Here in Israel, we feel that as well.

Chag Sameach!

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for more than twenty years. He has been teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach, Old Katamon, Jerusalem, for the nearly seventeen years. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles.