Contributed by: R. Ezra Mizrahi
When we read about the holiday of Sukot in the Torah, we discover a commandment incumbent upon on us during this time:
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We are commanded to be "happy." Although we should be happy on every Yom Tob throughout the year, the Torah stresses that on Sukot there is a concept of experiencing extra happiness.
How ironic that this missvah of happiness occurs on the only holiday we are commanded to leave our houses and live in temporary dwellings outdoors. Generally, one would not be happy eating on a folding table in the outdoor elements, leaving his warm spacious home and comfortable dining room set. It is at this moment where the Torah comes to teach us an invaluable lesson about happiness.
And this is a fundamental lesson that we often forget, found in Pirqe Avot:
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"Who is rich? He who is happy with his portion"
We can highlight the lesson in the story brought in Masechet Nedarim about the daughter of the wealthy Kalba Savouah who was betrothed to the lowly poor Ribbi Aqiva. Upon hearing the news of his daughter's engagement, Kalba Savouah denied her from sharing in his wealth, as he had wanted her to marry a man with prospects and wealth.
One wintry evening, Ribbi Aqiva and his wife were sleeping in hay to keep warm, as they could not afford anything else. Ribbi Aqiva's wife reminisced about her father's wealth and how she used to live on very high standards in his mansion. Suddenly, a poor person knocked on their door, and begged for hay because his wife had just given birth and they have no where to place the baby. Immediately, Ribbi Aqiva offered him some hay and the poor person left.
Ribbi Aqiva turned to his wife and explained to her how lucky they were that they had, because there are those who did not even have that. They both felt much better about their situation, and decided that Ribbi Aqiba was going t