It is interesting to note that there is no יום טוב commemorating the miracles performed for בני ישראל in the מדבר except for Sukkos, which commemorates the sukkah, the "huts" in the desert. Have you ever thought about why there is no יום טוב for the other miracles, such as the daily provision of the מן and the water?
In the wanderings in the Midbar, the Jews expressed severe dissatisfaction with the מן and referred to it derogatorily as "substandard bread." Also, in the case of the water, they complained: "And the people murmured against Moshe, saying, 'What shall we drink?'"
However, in the case of the ענני הכבוד, symbolized by the sukkah, בני ישראל never complained! The Sifsei Tzaddik teaches us that we commemorate this with the יום טוב of Sukkos, called זמן שמחתנו, the Time of Our Rejoicing. "Whatever mitzvah the Jews accepted with joy, they still fulfill with joy." Simchah is and should be the dominant theme in our sukkah. We should make sure that a complaint that mars our simchah should not be heard throughout the days of Yom Tov. We should strive for a complete week of absolute simchah.
As we leave our dining rooms and sit in the sukkah, we should experience a sense of excitement and serenity as we bask in the glory of the Shechinah. Let us use this opportunity to strengthen our family bonds by creating a warm sukkah environment that includes family singing and discussion of divrei Torah the children learned in class. We should emphasize an appreciation for Hashem’s gift of a clean slate recently granted on Yom Kippur and the privilege of doing mitzvos out of a sense of hakoras hatov for all His blessings.
Sukkos is a wonderful opportunity for quality family time. The children look forward to the Yom Tov, to be with their families, and we should welcome this special opportunity. Let's make sure that every child has a regular and set schedule for tefillah and limud HaTorah (and the younger grades should practice their kriah).
We look forward to אי"ה greeting the children after Sukkos, after what no doubt will be a meaningful and joyful chag.
Gut Shabbos and Gut Yom Tov!
Rabbi Gidon Goldberg
Head of School