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I once heard a very cute story about a famous Israeli Chassidic Rebbe who visited New York in December and, upon arriving in JFK, was met by thousands of his followers.

It being the holiday season, the entire airport was decorated with colorfully lit bulbs proclaiming cheer and goodwill to the world. As the rabbi began to proceed towards the exit, he noticed a Japanese fellow playing a harp and singing. The Rebbe then turned to his gabbai (attendant) and whispered, "The chassidim overdid this welcome for me a bit, don't you think?"

As we approach the Holiday of Sukkos, which is the festival of immense joy and rejoicing, we should take a moment to realize how much Hashem actually does do, just for us. This will fill our souls with the proper holiday spirit.

The Talmud says (Sanhedrin 37a) that although Hashem created many of every type - birds, fish animals etc. - he created only one man, Adam. Likewise, although today there are billions of people in the world, no two are identical. This is to teach each and every person that the entire world was created just for him.

This concept is not intended to make one feel haughty and arrogant. As Reb Noach Weinberg, shlita, says, "People take this edict too seriously and they begin to believe that only they are important and everyone else is in their way. For example, a fellow is on his way to Jerusalem in the morning. As he approaches the traffic light at the entrance to the city, he is delayed by a tremendous traffic jam which stretches miles back onto the highway. In frustration, he looks around and says, 'What the heck are all of these people doing on the road just now, when I have to get to work?'"

Actually, the Sages intended to instill in us a feeling of conscientiousness. One should not shirk his responsibility towards his Creator by thinking that someone else can do the job. He must feel as if the entire world was created solely for him and the entire burden rests on his shoulders alone. It is his sole mission to make this world a better place to live in and to bring the Final Redemption through his service of Hashem. If he doesn't do it - no one will. For no one has his special potency which he was endowed with by His Creator who made him, or her, different from everyone else.

On Rosh Hashanah, the world was created. During the Days of Awe, when one contemplates seriously the reason for it all, he should come to the conclusion that it was not only the Jewish Nation who was chosen among all others to be Hashem's especially devoted ones. Actually, he, himself, was similarly chosen, among all mankind, to execute his special mission in his world as the Ramchal expounds so beautifully in the first chapter of his Mesilas Yesharim.

With this feeling of responsibility and pride, for bring so chosen, he should enter the Sukkah and pronounce the words of the Kiddush: "Blessed are You…Who have chosen us from among all of the Nations, and have uplifted us above every tongue and have sanctified us with His commandments." Understanding that Hashem created the entire world and all that it contains, merely to give him the tools with which to perform his duty, will fill him with intense joy.

Visamachta bichagecha, vihayisa ach sameach - "You shall rejoice on your festival…and you shall be completely joyous" (Devarim 16:14-15).

Chag sameach - happy holiday.

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel