We are in the midst of the holiday if Sukkot, where we go out of our homes and built hut-like structures outside to remember how we lived when G-d took us out of the land of Egypt and saved us while we wandered in the desert for 40 years. When we travelled in the desert we were surrounded on all sides by the “clouds of glory” which protected us from all harm. We remember that even now, when we have all of the amazing conveniences of modern living, that G-d is still our only protector.
At the end of the seven days of Sukkot there are two more holidays. The first is Shemini Atzeret, where most people still eat in the sukkah but don’t use a lulav and esrog. There is increased joy, and we begin to add the prayer for rain in our daily prayers.
This is followed by Simchat Torah, a celebration of finishing the cycle of reading the Torah. We read the last portion from the last book (Deuteronomy) and immediately begin from the first book (Genesis). There is much dancing and merriment, and a really wonderful time is had by all.
I hope we all take the joy from these holidays and carry it with us through the whole year! All the best!