Sukkot is known as the “time of our happiness”. While all Chagim are happy times, Sukkot stands out as the pinnacle of joy. Back in the days when the Beit Hamikdash stood, most nights of Sukkot they celebrated there “Simchat Beit Hasho’eva”. The joy they felt then was indescribable. The holiness of the event was so intense, people were inspired to the point of attaining prophesy. “Whomever has never seen Simchat Beit Hasho’eva, has never seen true joy in his lifetime” the sages teach.
Even today, though unfortunately the Beis Hamikdash has not yet been rebuilt, a trace of the experience remains. After the atonement of Yom Kippur, come Sukkot, we leave our homes and are surrounded by the holy walls of the Sukkah alone. We experience a glimmer of the closeness to God we once felt. The presence of our spiritual guests, known as the “Ushpizin” adds a special connection, and the Four Species top it off. Those who listen closely, hear our hearts sing.
While we cannot explain the source of our joy in natural terms, the soul feels it. God is the true Source of all happiness, light, and goodness. People spend lifetimes chasing happiness to far ends of the globe, spending plenty of money in the process; yet often have little to show for their trouble. As Jews, we are privy to the true source of inner peace and ultimate joy, and for that, we are forever grateful to God.
By Rabbi Pinchos Fried