The High Holidays, Sukkot and Simachat Torah, always remind me of my grandpa who was the founding member of 3 different synagogues in Israel during the 50’s, and working as a Chazzan (Cantor) at the synagogue I’ve attended as a child. My grandpa was an interesting special man. Always promoting the importance of doing mitzvot.
Being happy is one of the mitzvot during Sukkot, in addition to the mitzvah of dwelling in the Sukkah for seven days and nights, commemorating the time the Israelites spent in the wilderness after they were freed from slavery in Egypt, and in addition to the mitzvah of commemorating the Seven Ananey Kavod (the pillar of clouds), that were guiding the Israelites in the desert so that they could travel by day or night, and let’s not forget the mitzvah of the four species, (Arbaat haminim) the biggest mitzvah that any one can do during Sukkot, is to be joyous and happy. Sound simple. It is not.
Our default is being in a state of fear and worry, a lower vibration than happiness and joy. If we want to elevate ourselves from a state of fear to a state of joy, the key is by paying attention to our thoughts. Based on a human brain research, we have more than 6,000 of them each day!!!
What you think influence the way you feel. During Sukkot we’re obligated and commanded by the Torah to elevate ourselves into a state of Joy “Ve’Samachta Bechagecha, Vehayita Ach Sameach” “And you shall rejoice in your Festival, and you will be only happy” (Deuteronomy 16:14, 15)
My Personal Sukkah Story
The High Holidays continue with the festive holidays of Sukkot and Simchat Torah, which bring the annual fall holiday season to a most joyous conclusion. Thinking about my Sukkot experience as a child, I have fond memories. I remember that my grandparents had the most beautiful and the most decorated Sukkah in the entire neighborhood, “probably in the entire world”, I thought to myself as a child. No one had such fancy decorations as we did. No one. Every year my grandma carefully took out her fancy decorations, which she kept in special boxes. Round sparkly balls, like red apples, pomegranates if you will, and every year we would come together and help hung them all up around the Sukkah. True, every year, at least a couple of them would fall down and break. Luckily no one got hurt and miraculously we never run out of our fancy Sukkah decorations, apparently my grandma kept lots of these special boxes hidden.
Years had past and I didn’t think much of it. Moved to Los Angeles and during a routine shopping trip at Target, was when I realized why our family was the only one who had these beautiful decorations, and why NO ONE had a Sukkah like ours …. it was shocking to say the least.
The time was right before Christmas, Target was filled with shoppers, filling their carts with holidays toys and stuff, and then I saw it for the very first time, ….. a huge Christmas tree standing in the middle of the store covered with …. my grandma’s Sukkah decorations…?! You see, my grandparents, who traveled to America many times over the years, and apparently liked shopping at Target, bought and brought many boxes of red Christmas ornaments to decorate our Israeli, Jewish Sukkah!
What a sense of humor they had, no wonder no one had a Sukkah like ours, understandably, Christmas trees always reminds me of Sukkot.
Chag Sukkot Sameach!