You won’t find “Lower East Sider” in a dictionary. If you Google those words, you’ll get some entries about prices of apartments and other various news about the Lower East Side. But for the tens of thousands of Jews who grew up and lived on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, there is significant meaning. In fact, those old timers take it as a great compliment to be a “Lower East Sider.”

 By now, the beautiful holiday of Sukkos feels like a somewhat distant memory. The leaves have changed into their splendor and august colors, and are beginning to rapidly fall from the trees. Our clocks have been adjusted to Eastern Standard Time, and the weather has become markedly colder.

They say that youth is the greatest gift; it’s a pity that it’s wasted on the young.

Periodically, at the dinner table my wife will ask in her motherly sing-song voice, “So let’s see who is eating nicely? Is Michael eating nicely? What about Gavriel? Ooooh, Dovid is eating sooo nicely.”

 As I was walking to shul on Motza’ei Shabbos this week, I saw that the moon was clearly shining. That meant that we would be able to recite Kiddush L’vanah after Maariv. I turned to the person walking with me, pointed upwards, and remarked, “a sheiner levanah,” Yiddish for “a beautiful moon.” I then added, “Can you imagine a non-Jew ever making such a comment?” That’s not to say that a non-Jew can’t appreciate the beauty of the moon. However, they do not have the same appreciation to “bless the moon,” which is considered equivalent to greeting the Sh’chinah itself. That feeling of excitement expressed in the words “a sheiner levanah” is unique to those who observe mitzvos.

Sukkos is an all-encompassing holiday – soul, emotion, and body. Our souls are rejuvenated with the feeling of unparalleled and joyous connection with Hashem. We are emotionally uplifted and swept away by the season of joy. As for our bodies, the sukkah envelops our entire being, our stomachs are nourished by delicious holiday meals, and the Four Species symbolize our spine, heart, eyes, and mouth.