Now may be a good time for a gem of Torah study.
From: Gutman Locks <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 2010 06:37:22 +0200
To: Gutman Locks<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: What Should Our Intention Be?
The Holiday of Succos is this week. This holiday has two unique commandments: We are to dwell in a sukkah (a hut), and we are to take the “four species” (the citron [esrog], date palm branch, myrtle, and willow branches).
We take the four species, and our custom is to shake, or wave them in all directions. What should we think about when we do this most unusual mitzvah? The Rabbis tell us one possible meaning: These four species of plants represent Jews in four stages of service to Hashem, and we are bringing them together from all directions. Nice idea, but is this what are we supposed to be thinking about when we do this mitzvah?
Judging from the very serious looks that I see on the faces of many religious Jews when they perform this mitzvah, I assume that their intention is to serve G-d. And when they serve G-d, they concentrate their minds on the intense seriousness of the moment.
But what does G-d say that we should do when we take these four species? The Torah clearly tells us that we should take these four and “…you shall rejoice before Hashem.…”[i] If you take them and shake them without joy, you did not do the mitzvah as it is commanded. You have to be happy.
We are commanded by the Creator of the Universe to rejoice at this time. Is there any better reason then this to be happy?