Can God command us to feel joy? It certainly appears to be the case on Sukkot. Sukkot is referred to as z’man simhateinu, the festival of our joy, and we are supposed to feel only happiness on Sukkot. We do so in part by setting up a new home, a temporary booth in our yard in which we dwell for 7 days, in order to remember that our ancestors dwelt in booths when they left Egypt. We decorate the booths and have festive meals in them. Furthermore, we should be joyous because our sins have been forgiven on Yom Kippur.
I wonder why, with all the joy that is inherent in Sukkot, is it so rarely celebrated? Why has it taken a backseat to the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur? I often say that if 3 day a year Jews chose different days to attend synagogue, say Sukkot, Simhat Torah and Purim, they would have a much different experience which perhaps would be more joyous.
I hope this Sukkot brings only joy to you and your family. It has been wonderful to begin to experience it in Jericho and truly take in the feelings of fall: the leaves changing colors, the cooler temperatures and the celebration of the outdoors.