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Following the commandment of happiness

10/16/2019 01:01:01 PM


Rabbi Laura J. Abrasley

If you really want to show off your holiday greeting skills this week, wish someone a moadim l’simcha! Literally translated, “moadim l’simcha” means “times for joy.” It is the traditional greeting during these days known as Chol Ha-moed, the intermediate days in the week-long festival of Sukkot.
Sukkot, as the greeting above implies, is a festival filled with joy. Tradition calls the holiday
“z’man sim’chateinu” – "our time of rejoicing” and we are literally commanded to be happy during this time. Happiness as an emotion can be challenging to define but according to Merriam-Webster, it is “a state of well-being and contentment.”
I love this idea of being commanded to be happy, specifically to be joyful, as we near the conclusion of the long Jewish fall festival season, a solid month of Jewish holidays. These holidays, from Selichot to Simchat Torah, are filled with a variety of emotions, but the cycle ends with not simply a little bit of joy. We need to be extra joyful. So much so the Torah explicitly reminds us three times “to rejoice in your holiday.” Perhaps God and the rabbis of tradition knew we needed to end these fall holidays on a high note.
With that in mind, please join us as we squeeze a few more moments of happiness our of our fall holidays when we gather on Sunday, Oct. 20 at 3:30 p.m. for our community celebration Simchat Torah. We will dance, learn, sing and eat!
Z’man simchateinu indeed!

p.s. Want to one up your friends and family in the joyful holiday greeting skills?  When someone greets you with
“moadim l’simcha,” you can reply with “chagim uz’manim l’sasson!” ("holidays and times for celebration!")

Fri, July 30 2021 21 Av 5781