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How do we achieve unity and happiness?

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

In these desperate times we are mostly in need of two things: unity and happiness.

More solidarity, mutual responsibilty, and the feeling that we are in this struggle together, more optimism and positive feelings regarding our current situation. And in fact these are the two central values of Sukkot. This is a holiday that represents connection and unity as we speak about "the sukkah of peace," and about the four species of plants that are held and shaken together that symbolize the four kinds of Jews: the lulav or palm frond which is the Jew full of learning; the hadas or myrtle which is the Jew full of mitzvot; the etrog which is the Jew full of both learning and mitzvot; the arava or willow branch which is the Jew who has neither learning nor mitzvot. This holiday is also called "the time of our rejoicing," about which it is written: "And you will rejoice in your holiday and be nothing but happy."

But how do we achieve these dearly desired goals? How do we unify our country and help people experience joy? Perhaps the answer is this: Sukkot arrives after Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. There is a specific order to the holidays of Tishrei and it is not arbitrary. Only after days of serious introspection, fasting, and understanding that we are all in this together - we reach Sukkot. Only after the entire nation admits "We transgressed, we betrayed" and all of us take responsibility for our mistakes and stop blaming others, only then is it possible to truly come together. When all of us are concerned with improving and refining ourselves, there will be more cooperation and happiness. If only this spirit that comes with the holidays of Tishrei could accompany us throughout the year.

Have a Sukkot holiday that is full of unity and happiness.


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