By: Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui
The very serious Rosh Hashanah according to the Bible is one day and so is the Day of Atonement. While the holiday of Sukkot celebrated four days after the Day of Atonement, Oct 1, thru the 9th, is seven days. The essence of Sukkot is Joy and G-d wants us to be happy more than anything else.
Rosh Hashanah we accept the authority of G-d as our master and on the Day of Atonement we are being forgiven for our sins. When we sit and live in a Sukkah – a temporary hut built for the Holiday, we are enveloped and surrounded by a G-dly act, similar to a G-dly all-encompassing hug.
The joy of this holiday is celebrated night and day by way of seven commandments. Commandments are channels and avenues through which we connect with G-d, and joy is an underlying and permeating energy involved and enmeshed in the thrust of this connection. Hence, there are seven forms of joy one level higher than the other accessible during this Holiday. When a person is truly happy the world presents itself as an infinite opportunity of good things.
The first three levels of joy are related and inspired from the creation itself. The next four levels are motivated and sparked from the commandments.
The first level of joy is obtainable from the mere fact that G-d created and sustains us. Before creation there was nothing, everything in this universe therefore is an emanation and expression of G-dliness. The mere fact that a person contemplates and realizes that his existence is an expression of G-dliness awakens a deep sense of joy.
Second step and/or level is the way we were created. G-d decided to create us in His image. One of those features is that the universe and each individual creation appears self-sufficient not dependent on G-d, like G-d Himself who is truly not dependent on anything or anyone. In addition to this false sense of, I don’t need anyone, and I can take care of myself, G-d created us with self-awareness. Knowledge of this self-awareness we are endowed with, is another source of joy.
Third level. G-d created as a reality in time, special days – like the Sabbath and Holy days, to celebrate and be happy.
The fourth opportunity and reason for Joy: When a person uses his free will that G-d gave him, (another of G-dly qualities endowed to man), and makes correct decisions in life and serves his Creator in practice. This choice will always endow a person with great joy.
The fifth level comes from the specific commandment to serve G-d in Joy. A person is joyous not only because he is able to serve G-d but even further, he is happy and joyous because being happy is a commandment in itself.
The sixth reachable level in joy is brought about when fulfilling a mitzvah-good deed whose exercise contributes joy. An example is, when making the Kiddush on Friday night on wine, “there is no joy like that brought about through wine .”
The seventh level, the cherry on top of all is unique to the holiday of Sukkot. This Holiday is defined as “our season of Joy.”
The practices and celebration of Sukkot brings joy for all other holidays. In the Bible joy is not mentioned regarding the holiday of freedom-Passover, and is mentioned only once in regards to the season of the giving of the Torah. Regarding this Holiday Sukkot, the Bible mentions and therefore creates the possibility for joy and to be happy, three times!
May the all merciful elevate the fallen Sukkah of David and may we all merit the greatest joy very soon the coming of our holy Moshiach.
To read more articles from Rabbi Ezagui visit him at http://koshercaffeine.blogspot.com/