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Parshas VeZos Haberacha - Sukkos (5770)

A Man's Sukkah is his Castle

Neurotics build castles in the sky.
Psychotics live in them.
Psychiatrists collect the rent.

[Source unknown]

In psychology, "building castles in the sky" refers to living in a fantasy world and distorting reality. In a certain sense, we are all a bit neurotic for much of the year – only we build castles on the ground – but we’re still living in the same fantasy world, the same distorted reality, which leads us to believe that the huge home we live in or the fancy car we drive or the huge corner office we work in will bring us true happiness. We tend to forget who we are and what we’re really here to accomplish on this earth – as individuals and as a Jewish nation - because we get so caught up in all the material things this world has to offer.

There is however one period during the year when we get a little reality check – a dose of clarity - and we begin to realize that the best and most important things in life … are not things. This is what the holiday of Sukkos is all about, and why it is traditionally called Z’man Simchaseinu, “the Time of True Joy”.

You see, true joy comes from living in reality. And after going through the High Holidays – with Rosh Hashanah giving us a sense of our purpose and mission here on earth, and Yom Kippur affording us the opportunity of making positive changes in ourselves and rising above the pettiness that we often busy ourselves with – along comes Sukkos and teaches us the biggest lesson of all …. that the only things that truly matter in life and that will bring us real happiness and joy are the things we can bring with us into our Sukkah – i.e. ourselves (hopefully in good health), our family and friends, and, most important, our connection to G-d above and the ultimate meaning that it gives us. That, my friends, is called living in true reality, and the reason why Sukkos is the most joyous time of the year.

The late great Reb Shlomo Carlebach once wrote: Just imagine Baron Rothschild, suffering from amnesia, standing on a street corner, dirty and filthy, begging for dimes. The first thing he needs is to remember is that he is Rothschild, and then to wash up and change his clothes, and then to go back to his home. All year long everyone in his own way is suffering from amnesia. We forgot what a Jew is, we forgot what a human being is, and we forgot who G-d is. On Rosh Hashanah when we blow the Shofar, we remember everything. On Yom Kippur, we wash up, and on Sukkos we move back into our heavenly abode – to the palace we are meant to live in.

As we enter into our Sukkah – our true castle – tonight to celebrate the holiday of Sukkos, let’s remember its powerful lesson well. This way, even as we return to our own “castles on the ground” after the holiday ends, we will ensure that we stay in reality and experience true joy all year ‘round.


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