Sukkot is a happy time. In fact, it’s so happy that the Torah says it is! It’s called Zman Simchateynu (the time of our happiness). But it’s even more then that. The Torah COMMANDS us to be happy. So what’s all this happiness for? You have to eat in a shack and shake a fruit, palm branches, and leaves. Why should we be happy, and why should we be COMMANDED to be happy?
Part of the answer lies in the reasons for what we do, and what they symbolize. The Sukkah needs to be made so that it’s temporary in nature, to symbolize the way it was in the desert when the Jews left Egypt. But it also symbolizes the way it is in this world! We’re living in a temporary world, with weak walls, a leaky ceiling, and decorations. And that’s exactly what’s supposed to make us so happy! That leaky ceiling is the connection we have with the REAL reality (heaven/G-d), and it’s the light from above that reflects from the decorations onto the walls, shining on everything. This Sukkot, we should look around us and think about all the temporary decorations in our lives, and how we can increase the number of permanent decorations we prepare! Especially right after Yom Kippur, when we (hopefully) committed to some sort of spiritual improvement, Sukkot is the perfect opportunity to exercise it.
Whether we promised to give more charity, or even to just give charity with a smile. Whether it was to learn one Jewish law every day, or to perform one. The point of Sukkot is for us to be able to DO something right to start our year, to do it proudly and happily, and with flying colors, decorations and enthusiasm!