Rejoicing Simha Where Spontaneity Meets Responsibility
An excerpt from The Outstretched Arm: Volume 1, Issue1, Fall 1995, a publication of the National Center for Jewish Healing.
The Hebrew cognate that is singularly associated with Sukkot is S-M-H, the root of simha, happiness. We are actually commanded to rejoice see especially Deuteronomy 16:14, 15 and the holiday is nicknamed "Zman Simhateinu," the Season of (our) Rejoicing.
In Pirke Avot (Ethics of Our Fathers) 4:1, our rabbis teach: "Who is wealthy? One that is happy with his/her lot." We simultaneously rejoice in our vast, eternal home of the universe. Sukkot helps us to put out lot in context- to appreciate our portion of eternity, to savor our piece of the whole, our link in the chain.
The message of Sukkot, then, is that to be human is to be vulnerable. No one lives without illness and death. What enables us to transcend the limitations of our physical beings is our "corporate consciousness," our place in both the endless cosmos, and, closer to home, an eternal people. Sukkot lets us share the immediate, tangible harvest while partaking in a taste of freedom, redemption, and the Messianic Age.
Additional Comment: Our Sukkah, the place of shared vulnerability, is where we accept, explore and even celebrate both our earthly existence and our aspirations of holiness, our infinite worth.
These "Spirituality Notes" are excerpts from our monthly E-newsletter. Articles are © JBFCS Rita J. Kaplan Jewish Connections Programs and may be reprinted free of charge as long as this credit line is included.