Now that all the yomtovim are over, we are back to so called “normal” life…..but when I think back over the past month filled with so many wonderful Jewish holidays, I find myself wondering what is normal? Is it life now, or is It all those beautiful holidays where we feel so close to Hashem and so happy? Why can’t that inspiration last a whole year? Well, it can. We need to take all the light and joy and inspiration from all these holidays and incorporate them into our daily lives. When we do a mitzva, let’s do it with more enthusiasm. When we pray, let’s have more kavana. When we just do any mundane daily activity, let’s infuse it with some of that simcha and joy we experienced over Succot. Succot is zman simchateinu, the season of our rejoicing. The Rebbe always said that Succot draws down simcha for the entire year. So each holiday in Tishrei has far reaching results that impact the rest of the year. As we come out of the month of Tishrei, we begin to unpack our bags from all the blessings.
The month of MarCheshvan which we are entering has no holidays. It is reserved for the inauguration of the third Beit Hamikdash, may it be speedily in our days. But we still can utilize this month of Mar Cheshvan to add joy into our service of Hashem because every day of the year we need to make a joyous day.
What is the idea behind Succot? Of course we commemorate the booths that the Jewish nation dwelled in when G-d took us out of Egypt. But the idea of a succah is that it is a temporary dwelling. It is a reminder that this world is only temporary and so many things that we try to put importance to, such as an over emphasis on materialism, is really unimportant in the scheme of things. The only things that have any permanence are the Torah and the mitzvot or good deeds we do in this world. We need to remember that this world is temporary and we should utilize it to do good. And that is why succot is zman simchateinu, the time of happiness. Because true happiness comes from realizing our purpose in this world and what is essential and what is not. The wisest King, King Solomon, said that after experiencing a life filled with material comforts and pleasures, in the end he realized it is all “hevel hevalim” (nothingness and of no consequence). The only true long lasting pleasure is understanding that we are here to serve G-d and do good. By not becoming too connected to materialism we are able to free ourselves to really enjoy life in the right way, with the right priorities.