20 Tishri 5779 – Sukkot

Are you intimidated to dance?

Would you like to dance but feel intimidated?

Do you ever feel that people are watching you, judging you and therefore don’t allow yourself to just live in the moment?

As I want you to really enjoy and ‘get into’ the dancing during Simchat Torah next week, I share with you this idea.

The halachah states that one is exempt from sitting in the sukkah if doing so will cause him to suffer. But why? We do not find that one is exempt from other mitzvot (for example, eating matzah or fasting on Yom Kippur) merely because observing the mitzvah may be unpleasant!

R’ Menachem Mendel Morgenstern z”l (the “Kotzker Rebbe”; died 1859) explains: The idea of the sukkah is that one negates his independent existence and places himself completely in G-d’s hands. However, if one suffers from sitting in the sukkah, this is an indication that he has not succeeded in nullifying his independent existence. He is still thinking about himself. What, then, does he accomplish by remaining in the sukkah?!

I think this law also answers our questions above. If we can learn to ‘forget’ about ourselves, it will be much easier to just live and enjoy the ‘moment’.

I look forward to dancing and singing with you over Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah next week! And please bring your children!

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach!

Rabbi Yossi and Chana Raizel Friedman

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