Following the intensity of the High Holy Days, we celebrate Sukkot. Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (1865-1935) sees Sukkot as a healthy counterbalance to the intensity and gravity of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
Spiritually, the Sukkot represent G-d’s protection for the Jewish people across the millennia. Historically, Sukkot is also known as the “Holiday of the Gathering (of the crops)”. Back in antiquity, as an agrarian society, we would sit in the Sukkah, and celebrate the crops that we gathered throughout the year. Sukkot is a thus a Jewish Thanksgiving of sorts. Sitting in the Sukkah we can enjoy “the labor of our hands”, and thank the Almighty for our material abundance.
Sukkot is the only Jewish holiday that does not have distinct types of food and dishes associated with it, but it offers something else which renders it special and unique. Sukkot is the sole Jewish holiday associated with the mitzvah of simcha/joy. The Torah states “ושמחת בחגך”, “And you should experience simcha during Sukkot”. It’s time to kick back and relax with family and friends, and celebrate life’s blessings, after all the intensity of the soul-searching and introspection inherent in Yom Kippur.
I would like to wish all of us a relaxing and fun holiday of Sukkot with family and friends.
Shabbat Shalom and Happy Sukkot,