April 13, 2024
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April 13, 2024
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Why is there a special mitzvah of joy, simcha, on Sukkot—and how can we fully achieve it?

The source to be extremely happy on Sukkot and the holidays appears to be from verse “V’samachta b’chagecha v’hayitah ach sameach, and you shall be happy on your holidays, truly very happy,” (Devarim 16:14-15) popularized by the song of the same words.

This song is from the Torah but it is actually the beginning of one verse and the end of the subsequent verse. In between “v’samachta b’chagecha v’hayitah ach sameach” includes “you, your sons and daughters, servants and Leviim, converts, orphans and widows,” the less fortunate in your cities. Not only that, the seven days of Sukkot and celebrating in Jerusalem are included as well. Only once you’ve fulfilled all that is in between—making sure to care for those in need and are subsequently blessed by God—will you truly be ach sameach, extremely happy.

True, it is certainly enjoyable to celebrate and serve God wherever you are in the world, but when you celebrate together with everyone else in the place God chooses, particularly in Yerushalayim, in His house, the Beit Hamikdash—that is when, where and with whom you will experience a whole new level of joy and happiness.


Rabbi Metzger is on the faculty of three gap year programs for young women in Israel, Midreshet Amudim, Machon Maayan and Midreshet Amit. He and his family now live in Alon Shvut, Israel. Rabbi Chaim Metzger was Rabbinic Assistant at BAYT from 2020 to 2022, and an Avreich of Beit Midrash Zichron Dov. Please send questions and comments to [email protected]

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