I once asked the question, "If you had only 1 solitary day to do Mitzvot, what day would you choose?" The best answer to that question is, "Today!" Because you never pass up a Mitzva today, even to do two Mitzvot tomorrow.
But the second best answer to that question may very well be "the first day of Sukkot." Because look at all the many Mitzvot that we fulfill on this one day: We have all the Mitzvot included in every Chag (Kiddush & Seudat Mitzva, Simchat Yom Tov, special Tefilot such as Hallel & Torah readings, etc.) plus the added Mitzvot of Sukka, taking of the Lulav & Etrog, & Hoshanot.
But please note the unique duality at work here. On the one hand, we are told to move out of our elegant & fortified homes into small huts, sparsely furnished & featuring leaky roofs & shaky walls. The message being sent is that our true Protector is Hashem - upon whom we are totally dependent - for only He can guarantee our safety & security. With Him, even the flimsiest shack is secure; without Him, no fortress is invulnerable.
Yet at the same time, we know that the state of "Shev v’al ta’aseh – sit & do nothing" is less than an ideal state for Am Yisrael. And so, although just entering a Sukka fulfills a Mitzva, Chazal prescribe eating food there & saying abracha that includes "layshayv b’Sukka." And we show further action when we take the Arba Minim & wave them in every direction; some even move their bodies while doing the waving. And we get out of our seats & walk around the Bet Knesset as we recite the Hoshanot. The message here is that we must become personally & physically involved in the experience of Judaism, rather than be silent, passive & detached.
This past week, Am Yisrael suffered a tragic loss when Ari Fuld HY"D was murdered by yet another cowardly Palestinian terrorist (who has since been praised & monetarily rewarded by the evil Palestinian Authority). Ari (like all the Ari’s I know!) was not content to just sit on the sidelines & silently watch Israel go by. He was filled with an inexhaustible energy; a doer, an activist whose every moment, every talent was devoted to Israel’s well-being & success. Even when mortally wounded, he courageously fought back.
The greatest tribute we can give Ari, the greatest memorial to his life, is for us to become more involved ourselves, banishing our apathy & inertia & doing whatever we can to destroy our enemies, while building up our people and our country. Each of us has our own unique strengths; let us identify & utilize them for a greater cause.
The symbolism of the circles we make during Hoshanot & the Na’anuim we do with the Lulav are reminders that each & every one of us can be a mover & a shaker!