D’var Torah: Sukkot – Giving Away Joy for Free

Keely Jones, from the Emmy award winning series Ted Lasso, is trying to help the players land endorsement deals by tying it to their interests. She has this conversation with young star Dani Rojas:

Keely: “Right, the product you most want to get into business with is joy?” 

Dani: “Si, mucho, mucho joy.”

Keely: “I don’t know if I can get you paid for that though Dani.”

Dani: “I like to give away joy for free.”

Sukkot is basically God giving away joy for free. Each festival in Judaism is connected to being a time for something. Passover is the time of our freedom, Shavuot is the time of giving Torah and Sukkot is the time of our joy. 

We are commanded to have joy. It is a hard commandment to understand. The pandemic has helped me understand this better. It is hard to feel joy when truly awful things are happening. Even if we are fortunate and doing well, we might feel guilty experiencing joy while others are suffering.

I think Sukkot arrives to give us permission to feel joy. Joy is something everyone needs and can help us cope with difficult times. Camp, to me, is all about joy. Seeing our campers and staff all together, singing, dancing, playing and having fun, was incredibly refreshing and inspiring.

Sukkot is just a great time of year. We have just finished the serious business of self-reflection and we were given a clean slate. The harvest is in and the weather is beautiful. What a wonderful time to go outside, go in the sukkah, and celebrate with friends and family. 

Finally, I think Dani Rojas is also on to a very important aspect of joy. The essence of joy is that it should be shared and passed on to others. If you are joyous, it is almost impossible not to impact those around you. So this Sukkot and throughout the year, let’s give away joy for free!

Chag Sameach!