Sukkot, the Holiday of Joy

Monday, October 13, 2014

As Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur come to a close, Jews around the world immediately start preparation for the holiday of Sukkot. On a chronological level, this is the time of year of harvesting crops, but Sukkot holds a much deeper significance. Deemed “The Time of Our Joy”, Sukkot holds a strong significance for both Jews and non-Jews alike. It is a time for communal celebration, giving thanks, and overall joy. Sukkot is one of the few times the Torah gives a specific commandment to be “joyful”.

If you had visited us at the Y during the holiday, you would have noticed that we had constructed a Sukkah on our roof. A sukkah is a temporary dwelling place consisting of 4 walls, and a roof made of natural materials. This Sukkah, or booth, acts as a reminder that sometimes we become too accustomed to the comfort of our own (sturdy) homes. It is important for all of us to take a moment to step back and appreciate everything that we have, and take joy in the fact that there are those people in our lives who make every day possible. This idea is extremely important today with all of the unrest and evil that pollutes our world. We hope you take some time to visit our Sukkah and meet new and old friends!
 
Our lives are spent in the pursuit of dreams, goals and knowledge. The only real and meaningful pursuit which keeps us in good stead, are the traits of goodness, sharing, and the building and enhancing of relationships. All else is fleeting, as we are taught in Ecclesiastes, the scroll which is read on the Holiday of Sukkot. "All else is meaningless when there is a lacking of togetherness and unity".
 
Our sages teach that above all else, the Holiday of Sukkot is meant to engender in us the desire and need to work on our relationships on a level playing field, where there is no ageism, difference or judgments. The Sukkah, a temporary dwelling place, open to the sky, adorned in natural furnishings is the vehicle that propels us towards that "level playing field". A Sukkah is meant to be temporary, lasting only 8 days. We serve warming and delicious foods to our guests, savoring the times we spend together.

May we all appreciate what we have, and let this time of joy be the start of a great year for everyone!