וְשָׂמַחְתָּ בְּחַגֶּךָ…וְהָיִיתָ אַךְ שָׂמֵחַ

And you shall rejoice in your holiday…and you will be only happy.

Sukkot is called Zman Simchatenu, our time of happiness. The Torah even tells us to be happy on these days. The Rambam writes “Even though we are to be happy on all the holidays, Sukkot was a time of special, added happiness in the Bet Hamikdash, as it says [in the Torah] “You shall rejoice in front of Hashem your god for seven days.” This tells us that there’s a mitzva to increase happiness [on these days].”

At first glance however, the mitzva of sukkah itself would conflict with this. Rabbi Yaakov Neiman asks “How are we to be happy living in a crude tent somewhere, sleeping on whatever you can find, instead of in our own homes, sleeping on our own beds, with easy access to plumbing?”

With a little bit of thought though, we can reach the conclusion that the sukkah really can bring us to happier-ness, if only we listen to the message. The transience of living in the sukkah is a message that is to be applied to the rest of our lives as well. It’s all temporary, this world is not our goal.

One who is steeped in this world, looking forward to nothing past it, can have a very difficult time attaining happiness. Anything little that goes wrong can be a problem. This is where it’s at, and anything negative in his “this” is a true problem. Additionally, jealousy and other desires are part of the human condition and can consume someone, even if they are objectively doing very well. It is very hard to overcome such feelings if there is no bigger picture.

One who comes to the conclusion that this world is only temporary, simply a pit stop in a journey to a better place, has an easier time with this. If one is vacationing in Kentucky, he doesn’t get jealous that the locals have their owns cars, he has one too back home. Additionally, only based on how big a part something plays in one’s life is how much things going wrong would bother them. When small or even large things go wrong, it’s much easier to get over if all it affects is our temporary “this world.”

Chag Sameach

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