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2nd Day Of Rosh Hashanah, 5745

Shabbos Parshas Ha'azinu, Shabbos Shuvah

Shabbos Parshas Ha'azinu

Tzom Gedaliah

Tzivos Hashem

Eve Of 6th Day Of Tishrei, 5745

6th Day Of Tishrei, 5745

6th Day Of Tishrei, 5745

Equal Rights

Blessings Erev Yom Kippur, 5745

The Blessing To The Students of Tomchei Temimim Before Kol Nidrei

Yartzeit of Rebbe Maharash

1st Night Of Sukkos, 5745

2nd Night of Sukkos, 5745

3rd Night of Sukkos, 5745

4th Night Of Sukkos, 5745

5th Night Of Sukkos, 5745

6th Night Of Sukkos, 5745

Tzivos Hashem

Hosha'ana Rabbah, 5745

Eve Of Simchas Torah, 5745

Day Of Simchas Torah, 5745

Shabbos Parshas Bereishis

Shabbos Parshas Bereishis

Yechidus

Shabbos Parshas Noach

Shabbos Parshas Lech Lecha

Birthday Of Rebbe Rashab

Sichos In English
Volume 23

5th Night Of Sukkos, 5745

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  4th Night Of Sukkos, 57456th Night Of Sukkos, 5745  

1

In addition to the lessons relevant to the fifth night of Sukkos which were explained last year, there are new concepts which are related to the service of the present year.

On the surface, one might ask: How is it possible each night to talk about the unique aspect of Sukkos, explaining how it supersedes all the other days of the holiday, when yesterday, a similar statement was made about the unique quality of that night, and tomorrow, similar remarks will be made regarding that night's service? These remarks were not intended to be considered intellectual gains or vain exercises in reciting a "pshetel" and if so, the contradictory nature of the statement requires explanation.

A similar phenomenon is found in the works of the Rebbeim. On each festival, they would recite Chassidic discourses explaining how that festival reflects the highest spiritual qualities. On Sukkos, the discourses would describe that holiday as surpassing all others. However, discourses of a similar theme are also recited on Pesach and Shavuos. How is it possible for each holiday to surpass all others?

The concept can be explained as follows: At that particular time, each festival is the "gateway to heaven," i.e. all the aspects of the service of G-d rise up to heaven through this pathway. The Talmud relates how certain tzaddikim had one mitzvah which they observed more fastidiously than others. Though they fulfilled all the mitzvos, this one mitzvah was their "gateway to heaven" and through it, the totality of their services were elevated.

The same concept applies in regard to Simchas Bais Hashoevah. Each day represents a different quality and serves as the "gateway to heaven" on that day. Though in general, all the days of Sukkos are characterized by the same quality, as the verse declares, "You shall draw water with joy," in particular, there is a unique aspect of service for each day; hence, a unique sacrifice and unique psalm is assigned to it each day. Also, each day, there is a different Ushpizin who is considered the principal guest of that day.

2

The principal Ushpizin of the fifth day of Sukkos is Aharon, the priest. His counterpart among the "Chassidic Ushpizin" is the Tzemach Tzedek. They both share a common quality -- the service of Ahavas Yisroel, the establishment of love and unity among the Jewish people. Aharon is known for that quality, as the Mishnah declares: "Be of the disciples of Aharon, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving your fellow creatures, and bringing them near to the Torah." Indeed, the Midrash elaborates on the extensive efforts Aharon would make to establish peace and harmony among the Jewish people.

Similarly, it was in the era of the Tzemach Tzedek that unity was restored to the Jewish people. In the previous generations, there were traces of the bitter rift between Misnagdim and Chassidim. However, the Tzemach Tzedek, through extensive meetings with the leaders of all factions, removed all the obstacles that stood in the way of unity. Just as a great light draws to it all the sparks, the Tzemach Tzedek was able to attract and eventually bring about cooperation and joint activity from those groups who were removed from Chassidim. Furthermore, the unity established in that generation set the spirit for cooperation and unity in future generations, thus, establishing oneness among the Jewish people.

The oneness of the Jewish people and love for one's fellow Jews are principles that are constantly relevant and important. However, on this day, these qualities receive even greater emphasis and stress.

3

Though, as mentioned above, the corresponding traditional and Chassidic Ushpizin in this case, Aharon the priest, and the Tzemach Tzedek, share a common quality, nevertheless, as explained in the sichos of the previous nights, there is a difference and even a direct contrast between the two. The contrast complements and expresses the unique nature of each quality of the Ushpizin, the Chassidic Ushpizin being the inner aspect of the traditional Ushpizin. To fully appreciate the lessons we can learn from them, we must explore not only their similar qualities, but also those dimensions in which they revealed different traits and natures. Indeed, through discovering a common quality between men of different characters, a greater dimension is revealed, as explained in Chassidic thought regarding the fusion of the attributes of Chessed and Gevurah in the attribute of Tiferes.

Thus Aharon is distinguished by the fact that he exercised the power of love, reaching out to Jews of a low level as the Mishnah emphasizes "loving creatures"; that term referring to those individuals who possess no other redeeming characteristic other than the fact that they were created by G-d. Aharon would reach out to these individuals and make an effort to establish peace between them, even lying if necessary. In contrast, the Tzemach Tzedek's efforts in establishing Jewish unity were carried out, to a large extent, among Torah leaders. Though he also was involved with common people as emphasized by the popularly known story in which he gave a loan to a butcher before prayer, the efforts towards Jewish unity for which he is known are those with the leaders of our people. Furthermore, the manner in which he established Jewish unity and overcame the obstacles separating the Misnagdim from the Chassidim was by teaching Torah. For example, one of the major differences of opinion between the Misnagdim and Chassidim was the Alter Rebbe's conception of the Tzimtzum. The Alter Rebbe wrote that the Tzimtzum cannot be understood in a simple sense, and thus, G-d's presence is found in this world, as well. In the Alter Rebbe's time, this doctrine had opponents. However, in the Tzemach Tzedek's time, even R. Chaim Volozin, the Vilna Gaon's major disciple, writes that the Tzimtzum cannot be understood simply. This was the manner in which the Tzemach Tzedek established Jewish unity. Furthermore, his efforts brought about cooperation even in regard to establishing government policy.

Thus, the combination of the activities of Aharon and the Tzemach Tzedek demonstrate how our efforts to establish Jewish unity must be directed to individuals on every level from the highest rungs -- the leaders of our people, to the lowest levels -- "the creatures." The yetzer hora (evil inclination) may attempt to sway an individual from these two services. In regard to the "creatures" -- it argues, "why should you descend to their level? Let someone else do it." Similarly, in regard to the Torah leaders, it may argue: "Who are you to talk to such greats? Don't you know your own humble status?" Furthermore, the yetzer hora may argue: "Why is it so necessary to bring a Torah leader to true and complete love of the Jewish people, he has many other fine qualities?" From the example of these two greats, we see how efforts must be made to reach out to all Jews.

Even a Torah giant needs the aspect of Ahavas Yisroel. On the contrary, if he is lacking in this quality, his entire service is blemished. Furthermore, because he is a Torah giant, that blemish is more noticeable. The Talmud teaches that a Torah scholar who wears soiled clothing should be punished by death; i.e. because he is a Torah scholar, his punishment is severe. Similarly, when a Torah scholar lacks Ahavas Yisroel, that deficiency is serious.[1]

To return to the concept of oneness, our sages write, "peace is great. Even when the Jews worship idols, if there is peace among them, G-d says, their enemies will not rule over them." Similarly, the Talmud declares that the generation of Achav were all idol worshipers. Nevertheless, because there was no strife between them they would go out to war and be victorious. In contrast, the generation of Dovid were Torah sages of the highest degree. Nevertheless, they would fall in battle because of internal strife. Thus, we see how Ahavas Yisroel is not merely an added merit, but a quality that is essential to a Jew's very existence.

The above can also be related to the Torah portion of the week, the second portion of V'Zos Haberachah: That portion describes the service of the tribe of Levi as the verse declares "they shall teach Your judgments to Ya'akov and Your Torah to Israel." Though this portion describes the service of one particular tribe, it is relevant for the entire Jewish people. The Rambam writes that any Jew who makes a commitment to give himself over to Torah and mitzvos is, in a spiritual sense, "a Levi."

The Levi'im are representatives of Jewish unity. Indeed, the very name Levi was given by Leah, "for now my husband will be united with me." In an ultimate sense, this verse refers to the unity of the Jewish people with G-d. That unity will be revealed in the Messianic age, when all the Jews will leave the exile; not one Jew will remain. In the redemption from the Babylonian exile, many Jews, among them the Torah sages and the Levi'im, remained in Babylon. However, in regard to the future redemption "a great congregation will return," "you, children of Israel, will be gathered one by one," no Jew will remain in exile. Thus, in preparation for this redemption, efforts must be made to increase Jewish unity as explained above in regard to the Ushpizin related to the present evening.

The above is also related to the portion of the Rambam studied today. That portion deals with sacrificial animals whose identity became confused with other sacrificial animals of a different type. The Rambam's concluding statement reads: "The identity of all sacrificial animals may be confused with another of the same species with the exception that an animal designated as a sin offering cannot become mixed up with an animal designated as a guilt offering for a guilt offering must be a ram and a sin offering, a ewe." (The Rambam's statement merely paraphrases the Mishnah (Zevachim 75:6) and the Gemara's explanation.) This statement provokes a question: It is obvious that a male animal cannot be confused with a female. Why must the Rambam and similarly the Mishnah mention this concept?[2]

The question concerning the confusion of sacrificial animals can be resolved by focusing on the spiritual dimensions of the concept. Masculinity symbolizes strength and power, femininity, weakness. Thus, our sages declare "his strength became weakened as a woman." The atonement brought about by the sacrifices can be brought about by services which parallel both of these levels: 1) the male -- a service where one "enrages the good inclination against the evil inclination." Similarly, the Ramban (Vayikra 1:9) writes that when bringing a sacrifice a person should consider himself as being slaughtered and his body consumed by the flames; 2) the female -- a gentle service in a peaceful and pleasant manner. Each of these services have their place in the process of drawing close to G-d and hence, both male and female animals were used as sacrifices:

Based on this preface, we can understand the above question. Though there is no way a male animal can become mixed with a female, in a spiritual sense there are times when a male type of service will be offered when a female type is required or vice-versa. Hence, the Mishnah must explain that such service is unacceptable. Just as a rich man who brings a sacrifice fit for a poor man does not fulfill his obligation -- even though the poor man's sacrifice is a valid offering to the point that were the rich man to become impoverished, it would be acceptable, nevertheless since it is not appropriate for a rich man it is rejected -- so, too, a male service (offering) cannot replace a female.

This concept -- that one service cannot be interchanged for another one can be related to the holiday of Sukkos. One of the primary services of Sukkos was the water libation. This sacrifice was characterized by joy as it is written, "You shall draw water with happiness." On the surface, the question can be raised: What is the connection between water and happiness? In regard to the wine libation brought the entire year, the connection with joy is obvious for wine is associated with rejoicing. However, there was no stress on rejoicing in regard to the wine libation, while in regard to the water libation the rejoicing was so pronounced that our sages declared: "Whoever did not see Simchas Bais Hashoevah (the rejoicing held for the water libation) never saw happiness in his life."

Chassidic thought answers the question as follows: the water libation reflects a higher spiritual source than the wine libation. The source of the wine libation is near enough to man that it could have been explicitly mentioned in the Written Torah. In contrast, the source of the water libation is transcendent, above revelation, and therefore no mention of it is made in the Written Torah. Hence, this elevated source evokes such powerful rejoicing. The rejoicing is not only from the fulfillment of G-d's will, but shares an intrinsic connection to the source of the water offering.

The quality of rejoicing is connected with the concept of Jewish unity mentioned above. Joy breaks down barriers and when a person transcends his personal barriers, he is capable of joining together in unity with another Jew.

May the rejoicing of this night transcend all limits. In general, dance takes a person above his intellectual self. When he dances with his feet, springing and jumping, his head is raised. This particularly applies when the dancing breaks out beyond the barriers of a shul or home and is extended into the street.

The joy of this night must transcend the joy of all the other nights (note beginning of sicha) and the joy of this Sukkos -- transcend that of all previous years. With this joy we will dance to greet Moshiach speedily in our days.

   

Notes:

  1. (Back to text) A similar concept is brought out by the portion of the Rambam studied at present: Disqualifying aspects of sacrificial animals. Because the animals are sacrifices and thus, sacred, there are aspects which disqualify them, though these same blemishes would not disqualify non-sacrificial animals.

  2. (Back to text) Similar questions can be raised in regard to other Talmudic passages. In Yevamos, the Mishnah states: "There are 15 women who free their associate wives ... from Chalitzah and Yibum (levirate marriage).... These are they: one's daughter, one's daughter's daughter ... one's mother-in-law, one's mother-in-laws' mother, one's father in law's mother.... All of them should they die, be divorced, or annul their marriage as minors, or be found to be barren (in such a case) their associate wives are free (to undergo Yibum). However, concerning one's mother-in-law, one's mother-in-law's mother, and one's father-in-law's mother, it is impossible to say that they could annul their marriage as minors or be found to be barren." On the surface, the latter concept is self-evident. A minor or a barren woman cannot conceive andhence, the very fact that the above women had children obviously precludes these possibilities. Hence, why did the Mishnah which is precise with every word mention these concepts? (It must be noted that though these questions are self-evident, they are usually ignored by most yeshivah students.)


  4th Night Of Sukkos, 57456th Night Of Sukkos, 5745  
  
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