Succot: The Time of Our Happiness

Question

Why is the holiday of Succot called “the time of our happiness”?

1 month

Answers

  1. There are many explanations offered. Here are two that I personally enjoy and hope that you do too!

    One reason for this special happiness of Succot is that it immediately follows Yom Kippur. After Yom Kippur, we have a few days to build a succah, acquire the four species — and rehydrate! Then comes Succot. One celebrates Succot with a particular closeness to God because after Yom Kippur, any transgressions we had were wiped clean. Every transgression is a type of spiritual barrier between us and God. But after Yom Kippur, after we have removed these barriers through repentance and atonement, we approach God on Succot in an elevated state of purity and holiness. What greater happiness is there?

    Another reason for this special happiness on Succot is based on the Torah calling Succot, “Festival of Gathering.” Succot is celebrated at the time of year when the harvest is brought from the fields into storehouses and homes. When a person gathers in the bounty of his land, he is naturally filled with tremendous joy and happiness. Just as this was true when people lived primarily in an agricultural society, it is true nowadays when we take a moment to appreciate the plentiful nature of the world.

    But this happiness is not a mere physical happiness. Judaism does not deny or suppress human nature and instincts. Rather, it seeks to utilize them in positive ways. The Torah wants us to celebrate and be happy, but to channel that joy toward our relationship with the Creator and with other human beings. We should use this opportunity to appreciate God’s benevolence as well as to share our good fortune with others.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team