Sukot and the Four Stages of Joy

Sukot is "the time of our joy" – our joy in God and God's joy in us. God loves all of His creation but He calls Himself "the God of Israel."

Joy is the experience of mother – "the mother of children is happy." A mother nurtures her children, so joy nurtures love, fear, and mercy.

Joy, simchah = 353 = "the mystery of God is to those who fear Him." On the High Holidays we fear Him, on Sukot we rejoice in His mystery.

Joy is in knowing that God is always with us. He follows us like a shadow and leads us forward like a torch, illuminating our darkness.

4 stages of joy: chedvah – the sharp point of joy; gilah – the rejoicing of the heart; simchah – joy of the body; sasson – the climax of joy.

The 4 stages of joy, chedvah-gilah-simchah-sasson = 1080 = 5 times 216, the gematria of awe, yirah. 1080 is the number of "parts" in a hour.

Selflessness, bitul, is above time. Joy, simchah, rectifies the experience of time. A moment of joy is a quanta of Jewish time.

Time has a beginning and a end. Rosh Hashanah is the beginning and Sukot is the end. The climax of joy comes at the very end, Simchat Torah.

The joy of Rosh Hashanah is chedvah, as explicit in the Bible. The joy of Yom Kippur is gilah. Sukot – simchah, and Simchat Torah – sasson.

First, on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the awe of the days covers the joy. But then, on Sukot and Simchat Torah, the joy covers the awe.

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