(יג) חַ֧ג הַסֻּכֹּ֛ת תַּעֲשֶׂ֥ה לְךָ֖ שִׁבְעַ֣ת יָמִ֑ים בְּאָ֨סְפְּךָ֔ מִֽגָּרְנְךָ֖ וּמִיִּקְבֶֽךָ׃ (יד) וְשָׂמַחְתָּ֖ בְּחַגֶּ֑ךָ אַתָּ֨ה וּבִנְךָ֤ וּבִתֶּ֙ךָ֙ וְעַבְדְּךָ֣ וַאֲמָתֶ֔ךָ וְהַלֵּוִ֗י וְהַגֵּ֛ר וְהַיָּת֥וֹם וְהָאַלְמָנָ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר בִּשְׁעָרֶֽיךָ׃
(13) After the ingathering from your threshing floor and your vat, you shall hold the Feast of Booths for seven days. (14) You shall rejoice in your festival, with your son and daughter, your male and female slave, the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow in your communities.
בֶּן זוֹמָא אוֹמֵר, אֵיזֶהוּ חָכָם, הַלּוֹמֵד מִכָּל אָדָם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהלים קיט) מִכָּל מְלַמְּדַי הִשְׂכַּלְתִּי כִּי עֵדְוֹתֶיךָ שִׂיחָה לִּי. אֵיזֶהוּ גִבּוֹר, הַכּוֹבֵשׁ אֶת יִצְרוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (משלי טז) טוֹב אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם מִגִּבּוֹר וּמשֵׁל בְּרוּחוֹ מִלֹּכֵד עִיר. אֵיזֶהוּ עָשִׁיר, הַשָּׂמֵחַ בְּחֶלְקוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהלים קכח) יְגִיעַ כַּפֶּיךָ כִּי תֹאכֵל אַשְׁרֶיךָ וְטוֹב לָךְ. אַשְׁרֶיךָ, בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה. וְטוֹב לָךְ, לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. אֵיזֶהוּ מְכֻבָּד, הַמְכַבֵּד אֶת הַבְּרִיּוֹת, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמואל א ב) כִּי מְכַבְּדַי אֲכַבֵּד וּבֹזַי יֵקָלּוּ:
Ben Zoma says: Who is the wise one? He who learns from all men, as it says, "I have acquired understanding from all my teachers" (Psalms 119:99). Who is the mighty one? He who conquers his impulse, as it says, "slowness to anger is better than a mighty person and the ruler of his spirit than the conqueror of a city." (Proverbs 16:32). Who is the rich one? He who is happy with his lot, as it says, "When you eat [from] the work of your hands, you will be happy, and it will be well with you" (Psalms 128:2). "You will be happy" in this world, and "it will be well with you" in the world to come. Who is honored? He who honors the created beings, as it says, "For those who honor Me, I will honor; and those who despise Me will be held in little esteem" (I Samuel 2:30).
(1) The pipes [were played sometimes on] five [days], and [sometimes on] six days. This means, the pipes [music] played on during the water-drawing, which does not supersede either the Sabbath or the festival. They [the sages] said, "Any one who has not witnessed the rejoicings at the water-drawing, has never witnessed real rejoicing in their entire lives." (2) At the expiration of the first holy day of the festival they descended into the women's court, where great preparations were made [for the rejoicing]. Four golden candelabras were [placed] there, with four golden basins to each; and four ladders [were put] to each candelabra, [on which ladders stood] four lads from the rising youth of the priesthood, holding jars of oil, containing 120 lugs, with which they replenished [fed] the basins. (3) The cast-off breeches and belts of the priests were torn into shreds for wicks, which they lighted. There was not a court in Jerusalem that was not illuminated by the lights of the water-drawing. (4) Pious and distinguished men danced before the people with lighted flambeaux in their hands, and sang hymns and lauds before them;, and the Levites accompanied them with harps, psalteries, cymbals, and numberless musical instruments. On the fifteen steps which led into the women's court, corresponding with the fifteen songs of degrees, stood the Levites, with their musical instruments and sang. At the upper gate, which leads down from the court of the Israelites to the court of the women, stood two priests, with trumpets in their hands. When the cock [first] crowed they blew a blast, a long note and a blast. This they repeated when they reached the tenth step, and again [the third time] when they got into the court. They went on, blowing [their trumpets] as they went, until they reached the gate that leads out to the east. When they reached the gate that leads out to the east, they turned westward [with their faces towards the Temple], and said, "Our ancestors, who were in this place, turned their backs on the Temple of the Lord, and their faces towards the east; for they worshipped the Sun towards the east: but we lift our eyes to God." R. Jehudah says, they repeated again and again, "We belong to God, and raise our eyes to God."
בבלי מסכת סוכה דף נא ע"ב-נב ע"א
מאי תיקון גדול? אמר רבי אלעזר כאותה ששנינו חלקה היתה בראשונה והקיפוה גזוזטרא והתקינו שיהו נשים יושבות מלמעלה ואנשים מלמטה. תנו רבנן: בראשונה היו נשים מבפנים ואנשים מבחוץ והיו באים לידי קלות ראש. התקינו שיהו נשים יושבות מבחוץ ואנשים מבפנים ועדיין היו באין לידי קלות ראש. התקינו שיהו נשים יושבות מלמעלה ונשים מלמטה.
BT Sukka 51b-52a ~500 CE Babylon
What was the big change? Rabbi Eliezer taught that they made a balcony and had the women sit upstairs and the men down stairs. Our Sages taught: At the outset the women were inside and the men outside but they came to falter due to lightheadedness [kalut rosh]. They decreed that the women sat outside and the men inside but they still faltered due to lightheadedness. They decreed that the women sat above and the men below.
תניא אמרו עליו על רבן שמעון בן גמליאל כשהיה שמח שמחת בית השואבה היה נוטל שמנה אבוקות של אור וזורק אחת ונוטל אחת ואין נוגעות זו בזו וכשהוא משתחוה נועץ שני גודליו בארץ ושוחה ונושק את הרצפה וזוקף ואין כל בריה יכולה לעשות כן וזו היא קידה
... It is reported of Rabbi Simeon Ben Gamaliel: When he celebrated during the rejoicing at the place of the waterdrawing, he used to take eight burning torches in one hand and throw them into the air; as he threw one, he caught another, and not one torch touched the other. When he prostrated himself, he used to fix his thumbs firmly on the ground [and while leaning on them], lower himself, kiss the ground, and draw himself up again, a feat that no other man could perform, and this is what is meant by the genuflection called kiddah.
(12) ...Although it is a Mitzvah to rejoice on all festivals, on the Sukkot holiday there was a time of overabundant joy, for it is written, you shall rejoice before the Eternal your God for seven days. And how was this done? On the eve of the first holiday they would arrange in the Temple a place for the women above and for the men below so that they might not mix one with the other. And they began to rejoice from eve ending the first holiday, and continued on each and every day of the intercessory days of the holiday. They began after the Tamid offering was made in the evening to rejoice the rest of the day and through the night. (13) ...And how was this joy [performed]. The flute was struck and the violin, harp, and cymbals, were played, and every person played any instrument they knew how to play. And those who knew to sing, sang. And they danced, and bowed, and clapped, and spun, and crowed, each according to their ability, and spoke words of praise and song. And this joy does not supersede the Sabbath or the Holy Day.
כֵּיצַד. הַקְּטַנִּים נוֹתֵן לָהֶם קְלָיוֹת וֶאֱגוֹזִים וּמִגְדָּנוֹת. וְהַנָּשִׁים קוֹנֶה לָהֶן בְּגָדִים וְתַכְשִׁיטִין נָאִים כְּפִי מָמוֹנוֹ. וְהָאֲנָשִׁים אוֹכְלִין בָּשָׂר וְשׁוֹתִין יַיִן שֶׁאֵין שִׂמְחָה אֶלָּא בְּבָשָׂר וְאֵין שִׂמְחָה אֶלָּא בְּיַיִן. וּכְשֶׁהוּא אוֹכֵל וְשׁוֹתֶה חַיָּב לְהַאֲכִיל לַגֵּר לַיָּתוֹם וְלָאַלְמָנָה עִם שְׁאָר הָעֲנִיִּים הָאֻמְלָלִים. אֲבָל מִי שֶׁנּוֹעֵל דַּלְתוֹת חֲצֵרוֹ וְאוֹכֵל וְשׁוֹתֶה הוּא וּבָנָיו וְאִשְׁתּוֹ וְאֵינוֹ מַאֲכִיל וּמַשְׁקֶה לַעֲנִיִּים וּלְמָרֵי נֶפֶשׁ אֵין זוֹ שִׂמְחַת מִצְוָה אֶלָּא שִׂמְחַת כְּרֵסוֹ:
The children, for example, should be given parched grain, nuts, and sweetmeats; the womenfolk should be presented with pretty clothes and trinkets according to one's means; the menfolk should eat meat and drink wine, for there is no real rejoicing without the use of meat and wine. While eating and drinking, one must feed the stranger, the orphan, the widow, and other poor unfortunates. Anyone, however, who locks the doors of his courtyard and eats and drinks along with his wife and children, without giving anything to eat and drink to the poor and the desperate, does not observe a religious celebration but indulges in the celebration of his stomach.— —
Thomas Jefferson, Philadelphia 1776
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
The Rap on Happiness by Amy Bloom, New York Times Book Review, Jan 20, 2010
We could canvass Gore, Rubin, Gilbert, the Dalai Lama [writers of books on happiness] and the many authors on the happier.com Web site and produce the Fundamentally Sound, Sure-Fire Top Five Components of Happiness: (1) Be in possession of the basics — food, shelter, good health, safety. (2) Get enough sleep. (3) Have relationships that matter to you. (4) Take compassionate care of others and of yourself. (5) Have work or an interest that engages you.
I don’t see how even the most high-minded, cynical or curmudgeonly person could argue with that.
The real problem with happiness is neither its pursuers nor their books; it’s happiness itself. Happiness is like beauty: part of its glory lies in its transience. It is deep but often brief (as Frost would have it), and much great prose and poetry make note of this. Frank Kermode wrote, “It seems there is a sort of calamity built into the texture of life.” To hold happiness is to hold the understanding that the world passes away from us, that the petals fall and the beloved dies. No amount of mockery, no amount of fashionable scowling will keep any of us from knowing and savoring the pleasure of the sun on our faces or save us from the adult understanding that it cannot last forever.