There is a story told of the Chazon Ish - Rabbi Avraham Yeshaya Karlietz, (one of the preeminent Torah greats of the previous generation), pertaining to Sukkot preparations. Several of his disciples brought him a number of Lulavim (one of the ‘4 species’ taken together as part of the celebration of Sukkot), so that the Rav could examine them and choose the best specimen for his own use over the Chag.
To avoid disruptions, and to allow the Chazon Ish to concentrate on the task at hand, one of the students locked the door to the room. Rabbi Karlietz saw this action, rebuked the individual and insisted that the door be unlocked immediately. “After all”, the Rabbi commented, “I can always check my own Lulav at a later time. But what if another Jew comes to ask a Halachic question or seek advice, (a common occurrence in the home of Rabbi Karlietz), and finds the door locked?”
The story concludes, that just as the door was unlocked, someone entered to seek the Rabbi’s counsel and the Lulavim were set-aside until later. Such was the sensitivity of this spiritual giant to the needs of others.
The holidays come with a myriad of technical provisions and requirements. Often it is too easy to become involved in technical tasks and lose sight of the big picture. This is a time to celebrate and spend time with friends and family. It is a time to stay attuned to the needs of those around us as we all rush to accomplish our last-minute goals. We must build a Sukkah, purchase a Lulav and Etrog, and prepare for the Yom Tov meals. But it need not be at the expense of another’s needs or feelings.
Just as the Chazon Ish was able to set priorities and ensure that everyone truly has a Chag Sameach, so must we be attentive to the details of the Chag to ensure that it is, in the words of our sages “zman simchateinu” (our time of joy).
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom, G’mar Tov and Chag Sameach,
Rabbi Don Pacht