1. We have explained on previous occasions that although in the times of the Bais Hamikdosh Simchas Bais Hashoevah (Celebration of the Water Drawing) was held on Motzoei Yom Tov, in the time of exile it is celebrated also on Yom Tov (and Shabbos). The reason for this is that in exile we need extra light and holiness, including joy, and therefore the Celebration of Water Drawing is held also on Yom Tov.
We have also spoken in previous years that, consonant with the directive “rise higher in holiness,” every night should see an increase in the joy of Simchas Bais Hashoevah. That means that the joy of tonight’s celebration, the 2nd night of Sukkos, must be greater than that of the 1stnight. Correspondingly, the more we understand of the greatness of the joy of the 1stnight of Sukkos, the greater will be the added joy of the 2nd night — since we must “rise higher in holiness.”
We spoke yesterday that the “Guests” of the 1stnight of Sukkos are Avraham and the Baal Shem Tov. Particularly relevant to our times is their relationship to the nations of the world, who said to Avraham. (Bereishis 23:6) “You are a prince of G-d in our midst.” Although Avraham at that time needed their help (to buy a burial plot for Sarah), they still knew and let it be known that he was a “prince of G-d” among them.
The above was said by the non-Jews who lived in that particular place. In addition, we find that Avraham was recognized as a prince of G-d by all the nations in the world. on the verse (Bereishis 14: 17) “the vale of Shaveh which is the valley of the king,” Rashi interprets it to mean “the valley where all the nations came to an agreement (“Shaveh” — to be equal) and crowned Avraham as a prince of G-d and as a leader over them.” Although at that time the nations were warring against each other, nevertheless, in regard to Avraham “all the nations came to an agreement and crowned Avraham as a prince of G-d and as a leader over them.”
Matters repeat themselves from generation to generation. In our generation too the nations of the world know that every Jew is a “prince of G-d” and a “leader” over them, as was Avraham, the first Jew. Avraham was the first of the forefathers of all Jews, and we, his sons, possess his qualities. Thus, even in exile, and needing the help of non-Jews, the nations of the world still know and let it be known of every Jew that “You are a prince of G-d in our midst.” Therefore they behave themselves accordingly and help Jews in all their matters, as stated “Kings will be your fosterfathers and their princes your fostermothers.”
The reason Jews do need help from the nations of the world is not because they are subordinate to nature, but because it is G-d’s will that Jews conduct themselves according to natural law (in the times of exile). Thus, even in the darkness of exile, a Jew is not affected, for a precedent has already been set in the exile of Egypt — when although the non-Jews were in darkness, “there was light for the children of Israel in all their dwelling places.” The Egyptians, knowing this, recognized the greatness of the Jews, and aided them in all their affairs, giving them “gold and silver vessels” as requested. The Jews were commanded by G-d to request the gold and silver vessels (i.e. they needed the help of the Egyptians) and yet the Egyptians gave all.
So too in all exiles: The nations of the world know and let it be known of every Jew that “You are a prince of G-d in our midst,” and therefore endeavor to help Jews in all matters (as is G-d’s wish that Jews conduct themselves in a natural matter — needing the help of the nations).
This is illustrated by a story related in the Talmud, of a mighty Persian king who himself fixed the girdle of a Jew so it should be fitting for the “beauty of a priest” — since all Jews are a “kingdom of priests.” This illustrates that when a Jew is steadfast in his religion, then, even in exile, the concept of “Kings shall be your fosterfathers” is fulfilled.
2. The above has particular relevance to Sukkos, for then 70 bullocks were sacrificed corresponding to the 70 nations of the world. These sacrifices acted as the nations’ protection and well-being; and since their “mazal” knows that their existence is thus dependent on Jews, they certainly conduct themselves in the manner of “Kings shall be your fosterfathers.”
On Sukkos itself, this is emphasized most strongly on the first day, for then the “Guest” is Avraham, of whom the nations said “You are a prince of G-d in our midst.” We find the same concept in the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov, who is the “Chassidic Guest” of the 1stday of Sukkos. On the verse “You shall dwell in Sukkos seven days, every citizen in Israel shall dwell in Sukkos” he asks: Why is it necessary to state “every citizen in Israel shall dwell in Sukkos,” when it already says “You shall dwell in Sukkos?” He explains that “Every citizen in Israel shall dwell in Sukkos” is a promise and assurance: When Jews will fulfill the mitzvah of dwelling in Sukkos, G-d in His Torah promises that every citizen in Israel, who is of the “enveloping” levels of the soul, will nevertheless dwell in Sukkos in an inner fashion.
Since all matters of Sukkos are in an inner fashion, a Jew has mastery over these matters in a far loftier manner than his mastery over those things on the “enveloping” levels. And the offering of the seventy bullocks, corresponding to the 70 nations, is one of the matters of Sukkos, which emphasize Jews’ mastery over the nations to the extent that their existence depends on Jews. Thus we see that the above teaching of the Baal Shem Tov emphasizes the idea of “You are a prince of G-d in our midst” — the concept of offering the seventy bullocks.
3. Understanding the concept of the “Guests” of the first night of Sukkos adds to the joy of that day; and since we must “rise higher in holiness,” it automatically adds to the Simchas Bais Hashoevah of the following day (the 2nd). In addition, the second day has special properties associated with its “Guests” — Yitzchok and the Mezritcher Maggid. As explained on the 1stnight of Sukkos, these are not separate “Guests” but represent the same concept; and therefore there must be a common theme between them.
The special distinction of Yitzchok is as follows: All the forefathers were “a chariot” to G-d, meaning that “all their limbs were sanctified ... and they became a chariot only for the Divine Will.” This is the reason why they chose to be shepherds: so they could have the solitude and detachment from worldly matters necessary to engage in service to G-d unhampered by any distractions.
Nevertheless, we find differences between Avraham and Ya’akov to Yitzchok: Avraham and Ya’akov were outside Eretz Yisroel; Yitzchok, who was a “perfect offering,” never left Eretz Yisroel. However, Yitzchok’s influence still extended outside Eretz Yisroel, similar to Avraham’s and Ya’akov’s who actually were outside Eretz Yisroel. That is, whereas Avraham and Ya’akov had to actually leave Eretz Yisroel to influence the outside, Yitzchok could achieve the same effect while staying in Eretz Yisroel.
This difference exists also between the Maggid and the other “Chassidic Guests” (Baal Shem Tov, Alter Rebbe, Mitteler Rebbe, Tzemach Tzedek, Rebbe Maharash, Rebbe Rashab). The Baal Shem Tov: At the beginning of his leadership he used to travel from place to place to bring Jews closer to service to G-d; Alter Rebbe: Also used to travel to different places, especially at the end of his lifetime, when he had to travel into exile; Mitteler Rebbe: Also traveled to different places, including outside the country; Tzemach Tzedek: went to Petersburg; Likewise, the Rebbe Maharash and Rebbe Rashab traveled to different places. The Maggid however, from the time he started his leadership, never left his place, and his influence on other areas was directed from his residence (through messengers etc.).
This then is the common theme between Yitzchok and the Maggid: Both did not need to leave their places to influence other areas:
In terms of man’s spiritual service: Every Jew must have the type of service of each of the three forefathers. At times a Jew must travel to different places to elevate them; at other times one’s service is when he is in his own place. In simple terms: There is the type of service when a Jew goes to engage in worldly matters; simultaneously, one must also study Torah, when a Jew is in his own place and from there effects all matters.
The above is also found in today’s portion of Chumash, the first of parshas Berachah. It states (Devorim 33:5): “And He was King in Yeshurun when the heads of the people were gathered, the tribes of Israel together.” A king does not travel around approaching each citizen separately, but the “heads of the people” and “the tribes of Israel” gather together and come to the king.
In practical terms: Every Jew must try hard in all areas of Ahavas Yisroel and unity of Jews (“when the heads of the people were gathered, the tribes of Israel together”). This expresses itself in education — of oneself and of others, which leads to the other mitzvah campaigns: Torah, tefillin, mezuzah, tzedakah, house full of Jewish books, Shabbos and Yom Tov lights, kashrus, and family purity. And the principal matter — to unite all Jews in the general Sefer Torahs. All these things should be done with joy and a good heart, with the strength of “Simchas Bais Hashoevah” and the “time of our rejoicing.” In addition, the second night of Sukkos this year is after Shabbos, when joy can be increased by carrying things which give joy; wine, and vodka (which is similar in color to water), thereby reminding one of the concept of “You shall draw water with joy.”