Wednesday, 4 October 2017
Rejoice - The rabbis refer to Sukkot as z'man simchateynu, "the time of our rejoicing".
Sukkot comes almost at the end of the Autumn Feast set. By the time we have eaten apples and honey at Rosh HaShana and heard the shofar being blown, fasted on Yom Kippur and blown the shofar again to proclaim G-d's victory over sin and death, then eaten and celebrated in the succah for seven days, taken a quiet eighth day to thank G-d and finally danced round the shul with the Torah scrolls on Simchat Torah, we'll all be exhausted. And perhaps that's exactly the point: if you are exhausted, you don't have the time or energy to rejoice. We will be busy during the month, that's the way it is supposed to be, but we need to take time to rejoice - to intentionally thank G-d for all the good things He has provided and done in our lives since last Sukkot.
The sukkah itself is a model of depending on G-d: outside the brick and mortar walls of our everyday lives. As we sit and eat in the sukkah, we need to count our blessings and thank G-d for them. As we count, we should get excited; we should feel our spirits rising up inside as we realise how much He loves us.
Lastly rejoicing is something that is meant to be shared. Sukkot is a time for entertaining and having people round to eat, remember and laugh together. Don't miss out on this time that G-d has provided. Rejoice!