By Rabbi Chaim Chazzan
How is one to celebrate yom tov?
The Torah commands us to rejoice throughout all of Yom Tov and Chol Hamoeid.
In the times of the Beis-HaMikdash, every man was obligated to eat meat from a korbon shlamim. Today the simcha is attained by drinking a revi’is of wine each day of Yom Tov and Chol Hamo’eid. Even today a mitzvah is fulfilled by eating meat and other delicacies.
A man should also rejoice his family by buying them each something that will make them happy.
While the food enhances the joy, one should not celebrate merely by eating and drinking; for this is not joy, but vain frivolity. The joy should be one of serving Hashem, which is only possible in a holy atmosphere. Each Beis Din would see to it that the level of kedusha is maintained by everyone.
Furthermore, one should help other unfortunate people rejoice as well and invite them to partake in his meals. Then the joy is “simcha shel mitzvah” and not self indulgence.
Above all the above, on Sukkos there is an added level of simcha (as we say in davening “zman simchaseinu”), which is expressed by singing, clapping and dancing.
מקורות: שוע”ר או”ח סי’ תקכט ס”ו-ז, י-י”ג; שיחת ליל א דסוכות תשמ”א; ס’ המנהגים ע’ 67.
Reprinted with permission from Lmaan Yishmeu – a project of Mercaz Anash. To see more articles visit Mercazanash.com