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Sukkot- A Time For Joy 

09/22/2021 12:50:56 PM


Rabbi Kelly Levy

Zaman Simchateinu, Moadim L’Simcha, Chag Sameach, Happy Sukkot! We have so many ways of greeting one another during this holiday, and all express the joy we find during the “Feast of Booths.” Sukkot, one of the Shalosh Regalim (the pilgrimage festivals) celebrates the fall harvest and reminds us of our ancestors’ travels through the desert.

There is something sweet and joyful about building a temporary structure in our backyard, something that resembles the booths set up by the Israelites. There is also joy in reliving the experience of our people from so long ago. There is joy in looking through the s’chach (branches that cover the sukkah) and seeing the exact same stars that our ancestors gazed at in wonder. There is joy in welcoming ushpizin (guests) to our dwelling place, providing them with nourishment, shelter, and tradition.

There is even more joy in shaking the lulav and etrog, a somewhat bizarre, yet fun experience. When we combine the elements of the lulav, the strong spine-like palm branch, the long, thin, lip-like willow, the sweetly scented, almond eye-shaped myrtle, and the beautifully yellow heart-shaped etrog, we remember to experience Sukkot with our entire being. We taste the sweet fruits of this season, we hear the sound of lively conversations, we smell the citrusy etrog, we hold the lulav in our hands and touch it’s fragile leaves, we see the beautiful colors of the trees begin to change and fall. We feel every part of Sukkot in our body, bringing us peace and wholeness.

Sukkot arrives directly after Yom Kippur, a time devoted to tearing down the walls of our hearts, opening them wide so we can begin the work of healing. On Sukkot, we begin to rebuild with stronger, yet flexible walls, walls that are ready to let others in. As we welcome guests into our Sukkah, we welcome others into our lives so that they can help us to become the best versions of ourselves.

What will you do to bring joy into your life? Will you try something new to experience Sukkot more fully? Which guests will you physically or virtually invite into your Sukkah?

Wishing you all a Sukkot celebration filled with good food, lots of laughter, and much joy!

Tue, February 7 2023 16 Sh'vat 5783