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Rav Ashlag writes about the consciousness of a level called Teshuvah Me'Ahavah, which means a person who changes from love. It is a level where a person transforms not from fear of the consequences of his actions, but from the tremendous love and excitement he feels towards his potential to reveal the Light of the Creator in this world. And it is a gift that can be given to us on Sukkot: the gift of being able to get to the level that is called Teshuvah Me'Ahavah, where even negative actions we did on purpose become a beacon of Light for us.
Through this, we can also become joyful for any pain we experienced, because we know that if not for the pain and doubt we had in this past year, we would not have acted in a negative way. And if we had not acted in a negative way, then on Sukkot, we would not have all that Light from the transformed actions. Because all the pain, doubt, and lack of consciousness that we had is what enabled us to behave in a negative way. And on Sukkot, we are excited, thankful, and joyful for them, because on Sukkot they become Light. Any pain and discomfort that we had in this year is transformed on Sukkot. All the pain we had in this year and all the negative actions we did this year can transform on Sukkot into an eternal Light that will shine for us forever.
Can there be a greater joy than that? Think about it… when we do a positive action and receive Light, that is joy. But when we can take all the negative actions we have done in this past year and make them a tremendous Light that will shine for us forever, there is nothing more joyful than that. That is the secret of the joy and gift of Sukkot. And Rav Ashlag tells us that any pain we experienced this year will be transformed into great joy, and any negativity will become a tremendous source of goodness. This is what Sukkot is about, and this is what is available to every single one of us on Sukkot; all the negativity that we created, all the doubts we had, all the lack of connection that we had becomes transformed. As Rav Ashlag says, “All pain can be transformed into great joy, and all negativity into a great goodness.”
So, let’s begin with understanding that this is available to us. If we make the connection properly and have the proper consciousness, we can leave Sukkot having transformed our past year. And therefore, by transforming the past year, we will certainly transform the coming year. On Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah, we cleansed. We made sure that the negativity would not bother us. But Sukkot is greater. That is why Sukkot, it says, is a taste of Mashiach. Because on Sukkot, we do not simply make sure negativity does not bother us; we make sure that negative actions become positive actions, and that our doubt, fear, negativity, and darkness from this past year become only Light for us.
To truly appreciate what is available to us on Sukkot, Rav Ashlag tells us in another section that goes even further that it is not only about transforming our own negativity, but also that what is ultimately available is our being able to come to a state where when we look at the entire world, we see only Light. Rav Ashlag explains we can get to a state where even as we look at others and at the world, we only see the ultimate goodness, and that on Sukkot, we can receive this tremendous, powerful, and elevated consciousness. If we connect to Sukkot as we should, we can look at the world and individuals and see their ultimate perfection. We could see the entire process of every individual and of the world in its ultimate perfection, and through our own consciousness, change their process to positivity.
It is important, therefore, to have this consciousness, not just about ourselves, but about the world. Because when we have that consciousness about the world, we transform the world. This is what is available to us on Sukkot: transforming all of our negativity, pain, and doubt from this past year into ultimate eternal goodness that will shine to us forever. Further, Rav Ashlag says that the gift of Sukkot is the ability to start seeing others and the world with Light, with the vision of the Final Redemption. So, when we understand this, we know it is not simply because it is a nice thing to do. We do it because, ultimately, these elevated, powerful, beautiful, levels of consciousness, as Rav Ashlag says, are important for us to have because they influence the world.
This is beyond where most of us are, but it is what is available to us on Sukkot. We can ask for all the Light of the Sukkah, the lulav, and the etrog to give us the elevated consciousness to transform our own negativity and darkness into only Light and goodness, and to have the consciousness to see for others and the world that ultimate level of perfection. And when enough people have the tremendous, powerful, beautiful, new levels of consciousness that are available to us on Sukkot, then, as Rav Ashlag says, all negativity will be removed from this world.
Sukkot is a gift where we can ask for, and receive, this new level of consciousness about ourselves, the world, and these beautiful words of Rav Ashlag. We can leave Sukkot thinking in a way we have never thought before, having a consciousness we never thought we could ever have; not because we earned it, but simply because we have desired it.