Sukkot: Ushpizin, Joy, & Tzedakah

Zohar Emor 103b

When people sit in a sukkah, the "shade of faithfulness" -- the shekhinah [the indwelling, feminine divine manifestation] -- spreads Her wings over them and... Abraham, five other righteous ones, and King David make their dwelling with them. And so, people should rejoice with shining countenance every day of the festival, together with these guests [ushpizin] who lodge with them... And we must gladden the poor, for the portion of the guests [one] invite[s] comes from the enjoyment felt by the poor when they eat.

(יז) מוטב לאדם להרבות במתנות אביונים מלהרבות בסעודתו ובשלוח מנות לרעיו. שאין שם שמחה גדולה ומפוארה אלא לשמח לב עניים ויתומים ואלמנות וגרים. שהמשמח לב האמללים האלו דומה לשכינה שנאמר להחיות רוח שפלים ולהחיות לב נדכאים.

(17) It is good for people to increase in their gifts to the poor more than they increase in their meal and the gifts that they send to their companions, for there is no greater or glorious joy than to bring happiness to the hearts of the poor and orphans and widows and strangers, for he who brings happiness to the hearts of these unfortunate people is compared to the Divine Presence, as it says, "To revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones" (Isaiah 57:15).

מוּטָב לָאָדָם לְהַרְבּוֹת בְּמַתְּנוֹת אֶבְיוֹנִים מִלְּהַרְבּוֹת בִּסְעֻדָּתוֹ וּבְשִׁלּוּחַ מָנוֹת לְרֵעָיו. שֶׁאֵין שָׁם שִׂמְחָה גְּדוֹלָה וּמְפֹאָרָה אֶלָּא לְשַׂמֵּחַ לֵב עֲנִיִּים וִיתוֹמִים וְאַלְמָנוֹת וְגֵרִים. שֶׁהַמְשַׂמֵּחַ לֵב הָאֻמְלָלִים הָאֵלּוּ דּוֹמֶה לַשְּׁכִינָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה נז טו) "לְהַחֲיוֹת רוּחַ שְׁפָלִים וּלְהַחֲיוֹת לֵב נִדְכָּאִים":
One should rather spend more money on gifts to the poor than on his Purim banquet and presents to his friends. No joy is greater and more glorious than the joy of gladdening the hearts of the poor, the orphans, the widows, and the strangers. He who gladdens the heart of these unhappy people imitates God, as it is written: "I am … to revive the spirit of the humble, and to put heart into the crushed" (Isaiah 57:15).
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. וְעַל אֵלּוּ נֶאֱמַר (הושע ט ד) "זִבְחֵיהֶם כְּלֶחֶם אוֹנִים לָהֶם כָּל אֹכְלָיו יִטַּמָּאוּ כִּי לַחְמָם לְנַפְשָׁם". וְשִׂמְחָה כָּזוֹ קָלוֹן הִיא לָהֶם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלאכי ב ג) "וְזֵרִיתִי פֶרֶשׁ עַל פְּנֵיכֶם פֶּרֶשׁ חַגֵּיכֶם":
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. And about such is it stated (Hosea 9:4), "their sacrifices are like the bread of mourners, all who eat it will be contaminated; for their bread is for their own appetites." Such joy is a disgrace for them, as it is stated (Malakhi 2:3), "I will spread dung on your faces, the dung of your festivals."

Take good care that your own mind not flee you. I mean the thoughts of your own better self. Just as you guard your money or possessions, making sure no one runs off with them when you are turned away, be even more careful to do the same with your mind, the one you are using to serve God. The best guard is joy to be happy always over the mitzvot you are doing and have done already. The sages spoke of one " who does not stop smiling all day (Brachot 9b)," when he was doing mitzvot. A person who gets to go to the royal palace should be very happy. How much more so if it is the palace of the Divine Ruler. [Each mitzvah is such a palace.] If you rejoice in the mitzvot... you can partake also of this worldly joys...without having your head turned by them. (Liqqutey RaMaL, Breishit, trans. by Rabbi Arthur Green)