1. The name Bais HaShoeivah contains two meanings within itself. The first comes from “Shemeshom Shoavim Ruach HaKodesh — from there they drew the Holy and Divine spirit.” The second explanation comes from “Ushavtam Mayim Besoson Me’mynei Hayeshuah and you shall draw water with joy from the wellsprings of salvation.” This is why the celebration is called “Simchas Bais HaShoeivah — the joy of drawing the water.” [It was during this celebration that a Jew was able to draw upon the fountain of divine holiness.] The connection between these two explanations can be understood as follows. The drawing of water is connected with holiness and divine revelation. The celebration of drawing the water was performed in the Holy Land, within the holy city of Yerushalayim, in the Bais HaMikdash. The drawing of the water was done with a sacred vessel, performed by Jews who are a holy nation; within the Jewish people by the tribe of Levi, within the tribe of Levi, it was the Kohanim (descendants of Aharon).
Even though the celebration of Simchas Bais HaShoeivah was not performed in the Bais HaMikdash on Shabbos, nevertheless, this regards only the celebration and Simchah of the Bais HaShoeivah. The drawing of the water itself however, was performed every day of the holiday; the drawing of the water was carried out on all the seven days of Sukkos, including of course the day of Shabbos. The water was drawn at night and poured upon the altar in the morning. Hence, the water was drawn on Friday night and poured out upon the altar on Shabbos morning. The reason why no Simchas Bais HaShoeivah celebration occurred on Shabbos and Yom Tov was only due to the prohibition against the playing of instruments on Shabbos and Yom Tov. This law is a decree in order to safeguard the sanctity of Shabbos and Yom Tov. The law (Sukkah 50a) states: the flute playing at the Bais HaShoeivah cannot override neither the Shabbos nor Yom Tov. Were it not for this decree, the Simchas Bais HaShoeivah would have been celebrated with musical instruments even on the Shabbos and Yom Tov.
This has a special significance for all of us, for since at the present time the Simchas Bais HaShoeivah is not specifically bound and connected with musical instruments, therefore there should be an actual joyous celebration of Simchas Bais HaShoeivah on Shabbos and Yom Tov. Although the Simchas Bais HaShoeivah is connected with the Bais HaMikdash, we also celebrate it in Golus. There is a spiritual Bais HaMikdash in the heart of every Jew, as expounded by the “Shalah” on the verse “Veshochanti Besochom” (Shmos 25:8). The Alter Rebbe cites this Shalah numerous times. The verse states “Veshochanti Besochom — I will dwell within them,” them referring to the Divine Presence dwelling within the Holy Temple. However, the question arises: Why does the verse use the plural form within them? There is only one Bais HaMikdash; therefore the verse should have stated: I will dwell within it using the singular form. Them refers to every Jew each of whom possesses a whole and complete spiritual Bais HaMikdash within himself, even when he is in Golus.
From the above-mentioned, it is understood that during the time of Golus an additional capability to celebrate is given to us. Not only do we celebrate the Simchas Bais HaShoeivah during Chol-HaMoed Sukkos, but also on the Shabbos and Yom Tov of Sukkos, for in Golus, the Simchas Bais HaShoeivah is unrelated to the playing of musical instruments. The added advantage of the capability to celebrate the Simchas Bais HaShoeivah in Golus even on Shabbos and Yom Tov has an inner reason. Since we are in Golus we need additional strength to overcome the darkness of Golus. The very reason for the descent into Golus is that an ascent should follow. Therefore, we need an added measure of strength not only to overcome the darkness, but also to effect the additional light which comes forth from the transformation of darkness to light. This is why in Golus we receive an added measure of joy and occasion for joy. As in our case, the celebration of Simchas Bais HaShoeivah is held, even on Shabbos and Yom Tov.
2. According to the calculation we are now celebrating the third day of the Simchas Bais HaShoeivah. The third day of Sukkos has special significance. The Zohar writes that during the seven days of Sukkos seven “Ushpizen” come into the Sukkah. Ushpizen means “honored guest” (as the Mitteler Rebbe explains in the Siddur). The seven Ushpizen are Avraham, Yitzchok, Yaakov, Moshe, Aharon, Yosef, and Dovid. Each day of Sukkos one of these seven guests is the main and principle guest. The first day of Sukkos the principle guest is our forefather Avraham. The second day of Sukkos the principle guest is our forefather Yitzchok. The third day of Sukkos the principle guest in the Sukkah is our forefather Yaakov.
The Previous Rebbe revealed to us yet another set of Ushpizen. This is our set of Ushpizen — the Chassidic Ushpizen. They are the Besht, Maggid, Alter Rebbe, Mitteler Rebbe, Tzemach Tzedek, Rebbe Maharash and the Rebbe Rashab.
The Zohar relates that each of the Ushpizen would say a specific verse of the Torah. Yaakov would always say the verse (Isaiah 58:8) “Then shall your light break forth like the morning.” The word “Yeboka — break forth” means to break through all barriers that surround it. The Mitteler Rebbe explains this concept with an analogy of a barrel of water. If you fill a barrel of water with more than it can contain, the water will split the barrel and storm through the barrel which restrains it. This is the idea and meaning of “KaShachar — the morning.” The word Shachar can mean darkness which is the opposite of light. It can also refer to the dawn’s early light which splits through the darkness of the night.
The lesson which we learn tonight is to add in today’s Simchas Bais HaShoeivah. To break and split through the containment of yesterday’s Simchas Bais HaShoeivah. We must increase the joy and celebration of tonight’s Simchas Bais HaShoeivah by surpassing the level of joy we had on the first two days of Sukkos. Those who think that the level of joy we attained yesterday is sufficient for today are mistaken.
Tonight is the night of the Ushpizen of Yaakov, who says the verse Oz Yeboka. Therefore, our joy tonight must be commensurate with the idea of Yeboka, to split through all barriers and to ascend onto a higher level of joy then we have attained on the previous nights of Simchas Bais HaShoeivah.
3. This year the third day of Sukkos is Shabbos. One of the concepts of Shabbos is ‘Taanug — pleasure.’ The Tzemach Tzedek expounds at length upon the verse “and you shall call the Shabbos pleasure.” On the day of Shabbos a Jew sanctifies, refines, and elevates all that surrounds him, causing the entire world to be elevated to a higher level of holiness. Through this service a Jew reaches the highest level which is Taanug. This Shabbos elevates the past week to a higher level; this past week contained the four days between Yom Kippur and Sukkos.
The Rebbe Rashab explains that these four days correspond to the four letters of Hashem’s name; they are auspicious and bright days. The Previous Rebbe explained that the service of a Jew on these four days is Teshuvah I’laah, I the highest level of repentance which is carried out with Simchah and joy. These four joyous days are elevated unto a higher level through this Shabbos; it is also understood that this Shabbos elevates the first two days of Sukkos as well.
Thus, the joy of the Simchas Bais HaShoeivah is increased on the third day of Sukkos, although we have Already celebrated with great joy on the first two days of Sukkos. This increase in Simchah will effect the level of “Yeboka” and will split through all the boundaries and limitations by breaking down the wall of Golus. Through increasing our joy we will speedily merit the rebuilding of the third Bais HaMikdash and all the Jews together with G-d will dance towards Mashiach Tzidkeinu.
- (Back to text) According to this set of Ushpizen, today’s honored guest is the Alter Rebbe. This revelation from the Previous Rebbe that there exist Chassidic Ushpizen was not to diminish, G-d forbid, the honored guests which are enumerated in the Zohar. In fact, there is a direct link between them. Chassidus reveals the essence of the world, and the essence and secrets of Torah. Likewise, the Previous Rebbe revealed the essence and secrets of the Ushpizen enumerated in the Zohar. Thus, the principle Ushpizen of the third night, Yaakov, is in essence the Alter Rebbe.
- (Back to text) The letters of the word Yeboka if rearranged spell the word Yaakov; thus alluding to the connection between Yaakov and this verse.