Photo of Rabbi Ettedgui

Sukkot 5775

This evening we are ushering in the festival of Sukkot. Sukkot is known as "HEHAG" - "the Festival" - because it calls upon us to be happy. That is why it is "Zman Simchatenu", the Season of our Rejoicing.

What is there tor rejoice about? It is a Harvest Festival. Rejoice for the bountiful harvest. Also, we have just gone through Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. We are confident that we have been written in the Book of Life - that's a cause to be happy.

In Deuteronomy 16: 13-15, we are reminded to rejoice with our family, our employees and servants, and to include the Levite, the stranger, the orphan and the widow. It concludes with these words: "Vehayeeta Ach Sameah" - "and you shall have nothing but joy!"

Isn't it wonderful that the Torah commands us to be happy? It is a time when we look for all the good that we have in our lives - health, family, jobs, friends, opportunities, etc. etc.

So let's be happy. Come to the synagogue, recite the Hallel, a prayer of thanksgiving, shake the Lulav and Etrog, participate in the Hakkafot and complete the week with the celebration of Simchat Torah. And, remember that our Simcha is not complete unless we also help those who are less fortunate.

We know that life is fragile like that Sukkah, but during this week, we are commanded to find things to be happy and joyous about.

Hag Sameach to you and your family!

Avram