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The ‘Season of our Rejoicing’ - Rav B. Horovitz

 

זמן שמחתנו

By Rabbi Horovitz

 

The ‘Season of our Rejoicing’ teaches us, through all the laws that

govern its observance, the road towards true happiness.

‘Simchah’ the Hebrew for ‘joy’ is related to the root ‘Zameach’

which means ‘to grow’. For true joy only comes to the person who

feels that he is growing and developing all his faculties.

Set in the ‘pattern of Tishri’ Succoth shows us this progressive,

happy and harmonious way of life. After the period of Penitence

and preparation, the Jew enters into the fullness of life on Succoth,

surrounded by symbols of the following ingredients of happiness:

(1.) Security. No person can be happy if he feels insecure. There is no ultimate security to be found in wealth, pleasure or power. Modern man is unhappy because he has tried in vain to find security in these and other aspects of life, which are, after all, of only relative and limited symbolized by the Succah value. If man trusts G-d and His teaching will find true inner security, transcending all difficulties and disappointments, and ultimately physical life.

(2) Use of Gifts of Life. If a person does not use to the full all the material and spiritual gifts, which G-d has granted him, his life will remain empty, dull and static. If he misuses them, he drags down himself and the things around him to ruin, The Four Species teach man to use nature, and all the qualities material and spiritual, with which G-d has endowed him, in the most productive manner for the service of G-d and man.

(3) Harmony. Repression of any one aspect of life forms an obstacle in the way of true fulfilment and happiness. Hence Succoth teaches us to create a balance and harmony between all aspects of living; the consciousness of the transience of life and trust in G-d should be harmonized with using the physical world (Lulav); indulgence of our material and spiritual instincts should be well balanced (חציו לך' וחציו לכם): all human limbs and qualities, and all groups of our people and humanity should be given their due in life.

(4) Peace and Unity. The above three qualities, result in true peace and unity within the individual, the nation and humanity. Therefore the Succah and the Lulav have become symbols of peace and unity.

Machine-dominated modern man has reached a stage today when there is no real shelter and security left against the possible harm that Atomic, Biological or Chemical warfare might bring to humanity. The chances of the survival of mankind are slender indeed. It is the frail and fragile Succah that represents the true path towards peace and security, and the real inner defense against the present dangers.

 

(5) G-d’s Joy. The ‘Season of our Rejoicing’ culminates in the ‘Joy of the Torah’. For our happiness should reach a stage of stability and constancy, permeating our whole being, body and spirit. We should have the feeling that we rejoice to be G-d’s servants, and that G-d rejoices in our service; we are happy with His Torah, and G-d’s Torah is happy with us.

The are two aspects to life that which is in the hands  Providence, and that which is in the hands of Man. If we are content with what Providence sends us (Succah) and strive to serve God (Lulav), our life will be crowned with Simchath Torah the joy of identifying our lives with

G-d’s Way of Life with the highest ideal of human perfection

- שמח והיית אך and our joy will constantly grow.

 

 

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