The Yom Tov of Succos recalls the period that Klal Yisrael lived in the desert, surrounded by the clouds of Hashem’s presence. Our existence then was truly inverted. Our bread came from the Heavens, while our water came from the rock, from the earth. The goal of that experience was, as the Torah (Devarim 8:3) says, to teach us that man does not live by bread alone; that we are truly sustained by G-d’s word.
We celebrate this festival and recall this period during the time of year immediately following the Yamim Nora’im (High Holidays), when we “dwell in the House of the Lord.” It is also the time of year when the farming season came to a close, allowing for more focus on G-d’s word and less focus on bread alone. Even for the contemporary Jew, very far removed from the rhythms of the farmer’s calendar, leaving our homes for the Succah allows us to experience a level of greater detachment from the earthy and the mundane. And while during the Yamim Nora’im (High Holidays) we experience spirituality in the defined confines of the synagogue, a place of prayer and study, the Mitzvah of Succah elevates the usually earthy activities of eating and sleeping.
That is the joy of Succos. To understand that we can indeed live on a higher plane. To bring the clarity of perspective achieved during the Yamim Nora’im to our regular lives, and to raise our daily lives to the heights of the High Holidays.