I find the contrast of Sukkot next to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur amazing. We just spent 10 heavy days, from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, immersed in intensive introspection, probing the depth of our souls to uncover our flaws and confront our mistakes, expressing heartfelt remorse for our wrongdoings and courageously committing ourselves to long lasting changes. Then, the very next day after Yom Kippur, we are out and about like playful children admiring the beauty of nature; looking at esrogim, palm branches, willows and myrtles. And we are building and decorating clubhouses — the sukkah. What’s going on?
Although we value the maturity of the repentance process — we paid a price for the process. The heavy concentration and intensity of the last tens days often weakens us and damages the spontaneity and joy of our inner child.
The seriousness of repentance takes it toll on the joyfulness of life and our naturalness. Although repentance is a process of spiritual healing, there are side effects that need to be attended to. Even though we are over the sickness, we need to become healthy, whole and strong again. We need to reconnect with our vitality and life force. On Sukkot we recover our playfulness and our zest for life.
Passover is referred in the holiday prayers as the “time of our freedom.” Shavuos is called “the time of the giving of our Torah.” However, Sukkot is described as the “time of our happiness.” On Sukkot we reclaim the joy and liveliness of our inner child and remember “Toy-rah R Us.”