Sukkos: Finding Inner Peace

One of the greatest inner challenges people face, today more than ever, is stress and anxiety. The complexity of today’s fast-paced world, laden with financial and all kinds of other pressures, makes it very difficult to retain inner calm and tranquility.
Sukkos is connected to shalom, peace, as we say in davening, “Uferos aleinu sukkas shelomecha.” The connection would seem obvious, for Sukkos is a special time of emunah and bitachon. Only when we place our trust in Hashem can we possibly feel safe and secure.
Generally, when we think of bitachon, we think of the external facets of our lives. We think of trusting Hashem for our livelihood. We think of trusting Hashem to protect us from outside forces. Yet, bitachon goes much further and deeper than that. It encompasses every aspect of our life. It is seeing and trusting Hashem’s Hand in every challenge and situation we endure. It is about living in peace with who we and those close to us are.
How many people are thinking, “Why did Hashem give me such overbearing parents or in-laws? Why did Hashem give me such a difficult spouse? Why did Hashem give me such challenging children?” Yet, here, too, is where we need to gather our bitachon. Every single aspect of our life is by design. It is all part of the Master Plan. Here, and only here, is where we can find inner peace.
I believe that it begins with accepting ourselves. While we need to always to be looking to grow, we also need to find peace in who we are – our personality, our talents, our intelligence, and every aspect of our essence. Hashem, our Creator, created us perfectly. Our imperfections and weaknesses are perfect for our mission in this world. In developing tolerance for ourselves, we can extend our tolerance for others.
The Gemara (Kiddushin 70a) tells us something fascinating: “Bemumo posel – One disqualifies others with his very own flaw.” Why is this so? Why would one label and fault others in an area that he himself is challenged? Shouldn’t it be the opposite? Here is precisely where one should seemingly be more sympathetic and understanding.
Perhaps the explanation is that we are not talking about someone who consciously recognizes his flaw. He prefers to live in denial, but deep down all of us have a sense of the truth. We are aware on some level of our weaknesses and shortcomings. Therefore, when a person sees someone else with the flaw that he himself has, he can quickly identify it and looks to ease his conscience. Look, he has this flaw. Even if I am not perfect in this area, I am not nearly as bad as him.
Those who like to call others selfish, judgmental, arrogant, and other negative adjectives are often extra challenged in that particular area. So, in finding the precious gift of shalom with our family, friends and community, it may very well begin with finding shalom with ourselves. We need to appreciate who we are and our unique mission in life. It may not bring us fame, but it will lead us to the hall of fame in the World to Come.
Sukkos is a time to strengthen our emunah and bitachon, to realize that Hashem loves us and orchestrates each of our lives in the best possible way. While sitting in the sukkah, let us find comfort and rejoice in this knowledge. Let us be zoche to feel sukkas shelomecha as individuals and, be’ezras Hashem, as a nation with the restoration in our times of sukkas Dovid hanofales.