Among the subtleties of the Holidays upon us is the fact that Succot
is the only Holiday that isn't celebrated for a particular event that
happened. Succot is simply a collection of happiness to be celebrated at
the same time, and all at this time of year. As Torah Tidbits explains:
- Pesach is a celebration of our freedom, which is a happy event, but
it also marks our having been slaves for many years prior, and reminds us
that we're still enslaved in our world today. If we took the happiness of
those 7 days, removed the bitterness, we'd have Succot.
- Rosh Hashana, which represents a new start, and clean slate for us
all. Although this is a very happy time, it's also weighed with the
possibility that we'll be judged unfavorably. If we had just the
happiness, without the uncertainty of judgment, we'd have Hoshana Raba,
which is the final Holiday, and the one that's in fact the final deadline
to do Teshuva repent).
- Shavuot (whose timing is also known as Atzeret), which marks the joy
of receiving the Torah, but also marks our having a mountain placed over
us threateningly, knowing that if we didn't accept the Torah, the world
would have no purpose, and would therefore be destroyed. (In fact, the
Jews only accepted the Torah out of pure love many years later, on Purim).
If we took the happiness of that day, without the doom factor, we'd have
Shmini Atzeret/Simchat Torah (Happiness of Torah).
The common thread of all these Holidays grouped together should send us
a very strong message: Be happy! But how can we accomplish that? The
Rambam Maimonides) says that there's NO greater happiness then through
giving, and Rabbi Zweig explains that it's because you're imitating the
qualities of G-d. More then just being in G-d presence (which we just
experienced on Yom Kippur), the theme of all Jewish Holidays, and
ESPECIALLY these, is to look for ways to give others, whether it's through
money, encouragement, food, or even just a smile! Let's all find a way, to
make someone's day!!