After the High Holidays, we are fortunate to begin the celebrations of Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah. I believe that one of the best descriptive names for Sukkot is Z’man Simchateinu (Season of Our Joy). Z’man Simchateinu is a beneficial name for not only Sukkot since it promotes feelings that would be a great way to lead our lives every day.
The Gemara in Tractate Megillah (16b) makes this point in its exposition of the pasuk (verse) from Megillat Esther.
לַיְּהוּדִים הָיְתָה אוֹרָה וְשִׂמְחָה וְשָׂשׂוֹן וִיקָר
“The Jews had light and gladness, and joy and honor.”
Rav Yehuda said: “Light”; this is referring to the Torah that they once again studied. And similarly, it says: “For the mitzvah is a lamp and the Torah is light” This pasuk from Megillat Esther is traditionally said each week during Havdalah, a reminder to go into each new week with a renewed zest for living with joy.
Let us find ways to take the season of our joy and make it a daily commitment to leading our life.
- Find a song that you can’t take off repeat. For me, it’s “Bad Habits” by Ed Sheeran. Go ahead. Please give it a listen. It will make you want to get up and dance.
- Look for unexpected blessings. It could be as simple as spending time with those that bring you joy.
- Learn something new. Technology, for many of us, can be fraught with fear. I encourage you to get in there and find the joy of learning something to enhance your life.
- Time together with friends. We have a vast firepit on the front porch of our house. Calling the neighbors, near and far, for an evening to sit together is a sure-fire way to be more joyful.
- The love of family. At the end of the day, as I fall asleep, I remember how incredibly grateful I am for my family that loves me. There is no better way to go to sleep joyfully.
- Find your passion. Do something that you are passionate about and brings purpose to your life. It is the best way to have joy continually.
As evidenced in the Torah portion (Exodus 33:12 – 34:26) for Shabbat Hol HaMo’ed Sukkot (the Shabbat during the intermediate days of Sukkot), Moses understood, as the leader of his people, the importance of relationships, trust, and honesty while never sacrificing who you want to be. Finding joy each day is one of the best ways to have a fulfilling life.
How do you find joy?
Alissa C Zuchman, Ph.D.