Dvar Torah for Succot
To each of the Shalosha Regalim there is a specific purpose:
For Chag HaPesach is Zman Cherutanu
For Chag HaShevuot is Zman Matan Toratenu
For Chag HaSuccot is Zman Simchatenu
Why is Chag HaSuccot different from the other Chagim and why is it a time of Simcha?
One of the Perushim explains that we are in a special Simcha in Chag HaSuccot because this Chag comes after our sins were atoned and we begin Avodat HaShem and start the mitzvoth of the New Year. We are especially Simachim about this.
Specifically, after we read in Parashat Ki Tavo in Sefer Devarim all the Tochachot (rebuke) that fell upon us because we did not do Avodat Hashem in Simcha. As it says; “Tachat Asher Lo Avadtah Et Hashem Elokecha B’Simcha U’Btuv Levav…” (Devarim 28:47). It’s understood that Simcha is extremely important and an integral part of Avodat HaShem.
The questions are asked what is Simcha and how can we integrate it with Avodat HaShem? Chazal gives us 3 characteristics of Simcha.
1. There is no Simcha like a Simcha that resolves doubt
2. There is no Simcha like the Simcha of doing Mitzvot
3. There is no Simcha but only in eating meat and drinking wine
An example to better understand #1 is as follows; if somebody, Chas V’shalom, goes to the doctor for a check-up and the doctor tells him, I see something suspicious but I would like to consult with my colleagues. Please come back in one week for an answer. That week will be like the person is going through hell because of the uncertainty. Once the doctor tells him what the suspicion was, no matter what the answer, he is assured of his uncertainty and doubt.
An example for #2 is as follow; if it happens that you meet an Ani (poor person), and you help him you feel great. There is no happiness like the Simcha of doing a Mitzvah.
An explanation for #3 is as follows; the source of the desire to do good, comes from the Neshama. But the Neshama does not have the instrument to perform the mitzvot. It needs a body to perform the desire of the Neshama. That is why Chazal emphasizes the eating of meat and drinking of wine to allow the body to perform the good desire of the Neshama.
For example, when the person is born he is born with 2 cups. One cup is full representing his bodily lifetime, and the second cup represents his Neshama but it is empty. Throughout his lifetime the first cup gradually empties out but by doing Mitzvot the second cup gradually fills up. By the end of his life the Neshama cup becomes full and the bodily cup becomes empty. When the person leaves this world, he leaves the bodily empty cup and takes with him to the worl to come, only the Neshama cup which is supposed to be filled with Mitzvot. The Neshama always needs the body to have the possibility to do mitzvot.
When the person has Simcha he is opened to do more and more mitzvot, but if he is in a state opposite of Simcha he becomes closed and is very difficult for him to do mitzvot. Thus it is important to do “Avodat HaShem B’Simcha U’Btuv Levav”.