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Rabbi Yossi's Blog

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But Will It Make You Happy?

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Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons 

A friend of mine recently referred me to this NY Times article from a few years ago entitled, “But Will It Make You Happy?”. The article profiles a few people who downsized and simplified their lifestyle and found more happiness. It interviews experts who share their view that experiences, rather than “things”, bring more happiness. The article raises some important issues, but in the end it misses the point: true happiness doesn’t come from “things” or experiences.

How can we find true, enduring happiness? To answer this important question, let’s look at the holiday of Sukkot.

Beginning tonight, Jews around the world will practically move, for one week, from their comfortable abode to a temporary structure called a Sukkah. The meaning of the Sukkah is the key to happiness:

We live in a world that conceals the reality of G-d’s existence. It conceals the fact that all of creation exists only due to G-d’s will. Similarly, living in a home with solid walls and a permanent roof, leads us to think that we depend on it for protection. In quite the same manner, our daily life experience lulls us to believe that it is predictable and safe.

In truth, as many people will attest, nothing in life is truly predictable.

Except one thing: G-d.

Moving from the house to the Sukkah reminds us the familiar and “reliable” aspects of life, our home, our health and our routine, are truly dependant on the true reality of G-d’s existence.

The Sukkah is a tangible reminder that we are not in charge; it reminds us of our vulnerability. The Sukkah eliminates our seeming dependence on the physical and reminds us of our true purpose: we are partners with G-d in creation. We are not dependant on the physical; we are charged with transforming and elevating it.

When we connect to our purpose of existence, our very reason for being, then we can truly be happy.

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