This week’s middah is based on the Sukkot Torah reading which teaches us, ‘חגותם חג לה – “You shall perform a celebration for God”. Judaism teaches us that to celebrate is a mitzvah. There are many celebrations in Judaism — but Sukkot is particularly designated as זמן שמחתינו (zeman simchateinu)- “a time of our rejoicing”. We rejoice because it is the harvest season; we rejoice because in the Land of Israel rain returns after a long dry summer; we rejoice because God cared for us when we wandered in the desert; we rejoice because we have dwellings that both protect us from the elements and allow us to see the stars above us.
This week, during Chol Ha’moed — the intermediary days of Sukkot and Pesach — we greet another person by saying “Mo’adim Lesimchah,” which translates loosely as “Times of Joy”. On Sukkot, in particular, one responds by saying: “Chaggim uzmanim lesasson!” – ‘May your celebrations and times be joyous.”
Today, and on Shabbat we celebrate the last two days of Chol Hamo’ed Sukkot; on Sunday we conclude Sukkot with Hoshana Rabbah; the next day is Shemini Atzeret, a time when prayers or celebrations for rain and a good harvest are made; Tuesday is Simchat Torah when we dance with the Torah to celebrate a new cycle of Torah learning. Our calendar is blessed with many days of rejoicing, and so I wish you all,
Shabbat Shalom, Mo’adim Lesimchah, Vechag Sameach,