And you shall rejoice at your feast

The great mitzvah of Sukkot is to be joyful (Deuteronomy 16:14).

By Anat Schneider | | Topics: Feast of Tabernacles
Simchat Torah celebrations in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv. Photo: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90
Simchat Torah celebrations in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv. Photo: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90

Baal Shem Tov says this: “Sadness closes the gates of heaven, prayer opens closed gates, and joy has the power to break through walls!”

So what exactly is joy?

Joy is the gateway to divinity.

Joy is fulfillment for its own sake.

Identification with the great Creator God in His greatest creation of all: man.

We are our creation!

Joy was given to us so that we could celebrate with God our creation, our lives, our freedoms, our failures and our resurrection.

Our entire lives are a source of joy in the choices we have been given and endless possibilities for growth, learning and fulfillment.

Consciously studying the nature of joy will help us mature and master it.

But like any study, it is initially carried out technically and at an advanced stage becomes a habit ingrained in us.

It is the same with joy: this state must be practiced so that it becomes second nature to us.

It is necessary to look within and recognize the things we do in life that give us a sense of soul transcendence.

The more we observe, the more we understand, and we can learn to trigger that joy more and more.

To achieve true joy that has substance.

A distinction must be made between a material experience and a spiritual experience, which in its essence connects us with joy.

This distinction distinguishes between the things we initially do out of great enthusiasm, a kind of passion that fades over time until it leaves us with a void.

It is a material experience, a physical one, that has nothing to do with joy.

On the other hand, if we look at the experiences that we have to strive for and move towards, these experiences are less impulsive and full of passion.

We will find that the deeper we go into them, they become stronger and fill us with a feeling of inner excitement and power. The complete opposite of emptiness and space.

These are spiritual experiences that will connect us with true joy.

In the Jewish religion, joy is described as a very positive quality that man should strive for, a quality that leads him to the perfection of spiritual work and indicates the complete state of man.

That is, happiness and joy are not achieved through self-satisfaction, but through loyalty to a higher goal.

The more we deal with these things, the more joy will grow within us.

The joy I speak of is not the joy of noise or “disco.”

It is a quiet joy that comes from an inner place that is connected to one’s being.

And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter and your male servant and your female servant and the Levite and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates. (Deuteronomy 16:14)

You shall dance for the Lord your God seven days in the place the Lord will choose. For the Lord your God will bless you with all your grain and all your work, and you will be happy. (Deuteronomy 16:15)

In Judaism, people took the beginning of the verse and the end of the verse after it and put them together to sing the same song that they sing on Sukkot in particular, and days of rejoicing in general.

And you were happy on your holiday and you were only happy (ושמחת בחגך והיית אך שמח, V’samachta b’chagecha v’hayita ach same’ach)!


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