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|Sichos In English|
Excerpts of Sichos delivered by The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
Vol. 7 — Tishrei-MarCheshvan 5741
6th Night of Sukkos, 5741
Published and copyright © by Sichos In English
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1. Tonight is the sixth night of Sukkos and the sixth time we have celebrated Simchas Bais HaShoeivah. One might speculate as to what could be a reason for greater rejoicing in tonight’s celebration; for on each previous night a new reason was found to add to the joy of Simchas Bais HaShoeivah. The reason for adding to the rejoicing of Simchas Bais HaShoeivah tonight is obvious from the name of tonight’s Ushpizen — Yosef — which means to add. In the Chumash itself (Bereishis 30:24) Rochel, Yosef’s mother, used that name to allude to the phrase, “G-d add another son to me.” Together with Yosef was born the promise that G-d would add another son.
This concept of addition is closely related to Simchah, which breaks down all barriers. Furthermore, the very nature of Simchah is to join together with another, sharing one Is joy with “your son, your daughter, your servant .... and the stranger in your gates.” The Rambam explains that only then does one attain true joy.
This reason is particularly applicable in view of the Tzemach Tzedek’s interpretation of the above verse. The Hebrew word for “another son” is “Ben Acher.” This phrase can also be interpreted to mean that who is “Acher — foreign” is made into a “Ben — son,” leading to great joy; for a baal teshuvah reaches a higher level than a tzaddik. The service of a tzaddik can be compared to a king’s son who spends all of his days in his father’s palace carrying out his father’s will. Though the king derives pleasure from his son’s conduct, “constant pleasure is not pleasure,” — his is not true joy. In contrast, the baal teshuvah can be compared to a king’s son who was sent into exile — an exile among different nations and tongues. The ways of the street, the public domain, become attached to him. Nevertheless, the task is to make from this “Acher” a son, to create a private domain — a domain for G-d.
In order to carry out such service it is necessary for the one who carries out the task of refinement to lower himself to the level, to put on the clothes, of the object that must be refined. This principle even applies in regard to G-d. Before the Messianic redemption, in the refinement of Edom, G-d will “make impure His garments.” The Zohar (end Bechukosai) explains this concept with a metaphor of a bridegroom who, motivated by his great love for his bride, goes into a tanner’s market (an awful smelling place). In the time of exile, G-dliness is not openly revealed, unlike the time of the Temple, when ten miracles were openly revealed and eyes of flesh were able to perceive G-dliness. This brought about the recognition that even nature is a series of miracles. However, since the Temple has been destroyed, “We have not seen wonders.” G-dliness has been covered up, enclothed within the garments of exile.
The same pattern applies to the service of the Jewish people, for “tzaddikim resemble their Creator,” and more particularly to the service of every Jew, as the Mishnah declares, “Your nation are all tzaddikim.” In order to merit their entry into Eretz Yisrael, the Jews had to experience a period of purification in Golus, a long period of Egyptian slavery followed by forty years of wandering in the desert. Similarly, every Jew’s soul comes down “from a high peak to a low pit,” into this physical world which can easily be likened to a desert. In this world, a soul descends into a body (albeit a holy body) for the sake of carrying out a mission — “making this world a dwelling place for G-d.” The accomplishment of this task brings about great joy, as the Tanya declares, “One becomes a host for G-d,” a status which will naturally generate feelings of happiness. Furthermore, even before one carries out his mission, the very fact that G-d has chosen him for it and depends on him for it should generate happiness. And this happiness is multiplied when one sees success as did Yosef, the first Jew sent into Golus, when one sees that “everything he did, G-d made successful;” one’s efforts have brought forth fruit. The Zohar declares “Each day carries out its service. The very passage of a day generates the potential, if one so desires, to ensure that the mission be successfully carried out, thus generating joy. This is particularly true on Sukkos, the season of our rejoicing, when the mission itself is tied to generating happiness.
Since today is the sixth day of Simchas Bais HaShoeivah — a day connected with Yosef — we can surely add to the joy we feel. This is particularly true according to the concept explained by the previous Rebbe, that in addition to the Ushpizen mentioned by the Zohar, there are also the Chassidishe Ushpizen: the Besht, the Maggid, the Alter Rebbe, etc. The Ushpizen connected with the present day is the Rebbe Maharash. The saying most frequently connected with him is, “The world says one must try to crawl under and if one does not succeed, one should try to climb over. My first impulse is to climb over.” This approach, although relevant at all times, is particularly applicable to matters of Torah and mitzvos, and especially to matters connected with joy; for the entire thrust of joy is to go above one’s boundaries.
Thus, the influence of Yosef and the influence of the Rebbe Maharash complement each other. This concept must be communicated to all Jews, for now is the time of “spreading the wellsprings of Torah outward. Thus, we fulfill the concept of “Yosef Hashem Li Ben Acher,” making of an “Acher” someone who views Judaism as something foreign, who sits on the side while everyone else is dancing — a Ben, a son.
Even if the above explanation seems different from the normal P’shat, the simple meaning of Torah, the AriZal explained that for every Torah concept, there are 600,000 explanations in each of the areas of P’shat, Remez, Drush, and Sod. Despite their apparent differences, they are based on the same Torah concept and therefore are interrelated and united.
2. The principle of unity is also emphasized by Simchas Bais HaShoeivah. On the surface, there were differences in participation in Simchas Bais HaShoeivah. There were those who danced with torches of fire. And there were those who merely stood and watched. However, because there was an attitude of joy, all the particular details faded away. When people are happy, it does not matter whether one dances with more energy and another with less. The fact that they join together in an experience — “and you shall rejoice before the L-rd, your G-d” — unites them.
Even though we are living in Golus, even though we are outside Eretz Yisrael; and even if, while in the Diaspora, we are not in a synagogue or a house of study, we can make the street, the public “ domain, into a holy’ place. And of such a place G-d declares: “I will dwell among you.” From the public domain, we can fashion a private domain for G-d — the only entity in the world. This can be accomplished through the efforts of the holy nation, the Jews, whom G-d has entrusted with a mission. Hence, they have the power of G-d (note footnote D) and can transform the darkness of the Diaspora into a holy place.
If the above is true in the Diaspora, it is certainly true in the land where “the eyes of the L-rd your G-d are upon it from the beginning of the year until the end of the year.” There, “in the light of the King’s face,” in His palace, there can be no sadness, but only glory and beauty; for according to Torah law, there must always be Joy in the palace of a king. Since the King is there at all times — even though we have been exiled from our land — joy is essential. Despite the situation of exile, we must rejoice with a great and powerful celebration, following the example of King Dovid who “danced and leaped with all his might.” The potential is given for every Jew, even one who is young either in years or in his awareness of Yiddishkeit, to celebrate with great joy. This is particularly true now, since we have carried out the mitzvah of Simchas Bais HaShoeivah in the five previous days.
Then, together with the men, women, and children we will become fused together as one entity — the lesson of Hakhel — and thus cause a strengthening of Torah and mitzvos. It will be clearly revealed and all Jews will clearly recognize that they belong to Tzivos Hashem — G-d’s army. Whether a Jew consciously desires it or not, he has been mobilized into G-d’s army. The Rambam writes that every Jew’s true desire, whether he knows it or not, is to serve G-d. We must take every opportunity even to the point of forcing one to reveal his true will, thereby bringing the other person into G-d’s army.
3. The concept of an army teaches a profound lesson. An army operates by the principle of “Na’aseh V’Nishmah,” the commitment to action preceding the listening. First, one must follow the command and only afterwards try to understand. G-d wants us to study Torah, but the preliminary step must be the commitment to “do.” When this approach is taken, we will merit acceptance by G-d into His army. Then, just as during the exodus from Egypt, the Jews will leave “with an upright arm” and “a multitude of nations will follow them.” Then, even in the times of exile, “all the children of Israel have light in their dwellings.” Even though the world is in a state of night (a metaphor for exile), we have G-d Is promise of the true light — the light of Torah and the candle of mitzvos.
This is particularly true during Sukkos when “our eyes did not see sleep.” In general, even in exile, “I am sleeping but my heart is awake,” the Jews are excited about and motivated by all aspects of Torah and mitzvos. However, the influence of Sukkos brings about a state where just as “the guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps,” so too every Jew will continually be awake and then we will go dancing to greet Mashiach. We will all, men, women, and children, join in Tzivos Hashem, and march to meet Mashiach and proceed with him to our Holy Land in the complete and ultimate redemption, speedily in our days.
- (Back to text) In general, Edom represents the Golus. This concept is particularly relevant in the present age, for our Golus is referred to as Golus Edom.
- (Back to text) The concept that every Jew is a tzaddik should not be taken casually for the Mishnah uses it as a proof that every Jew has a portion in the World to Come. (That portion is not something that will first be created after a person’s passing. Rather, one possesses it at present as well. Hence, it is possible to, in the words of the Talmud, “See your [portion of the] world [to come] in your lifetime.”)
- (Back to text) One who has been entrusted with a mission is called a Shliach (emissary). The Talmud declares “A person’s emissary is like him. “ Since G-d has entrusted the Jews with a mission, they become like G-d, each possessing “a part of G-d from above.” This is significant, for as the Baal Shem Tov declared — “One who grasps a portion of the essence is considered as if he has grasped it in its entirety.”
- (Back to text) There is a three-fold joy present on this occasion: 1) all festivals are called “festivals for rejoicing”; 2) Sukkos itself is called “the season of rejoicing” 3) Simchas Bais Hashoeva is a time of special joy as the Talmud declares, “Whoever did not see the Simchas Bais Hashoeva, never witnessed [real] joy in his life.”
- (Back to text) The delegation of a particular day to one Ushpizen does not negate the influence of the others. On the contrary, the prayer recited in the Siddur states that one is the principal Ushpizen and the others come with him.
- (Back to text) Even this had an effect: the watching generated happiness for the entire year to come.
- (Back to text) Even according to Halachah, if a public domain is closed off by people holding hands, it becomes a private domain. Hence, through dancing in the street, the street was actually transformed into a private domain.
- (Back to text) Even those presently in Eretz Yisrael are in exile, as evident from a number of events that happened there. Furthermore, no mouths have been opened in protest. The first among these issues is ‘Mihu Yehudi;’ (Who is a Jew) where a non-Jew is given a paper which boldly declares that he is Jewish, an absolute lie, for he has never converted according to law. The correction of this problem is ignored even though we are living in a time when G-d’s help is necessary. Furthermore, the entire decision is absurd — a Jewish religious matter is to be decided by a vote in the Knesset, where a Christian and a Moslem are given the same voting status as a Jew. In a question of health, one would only ask those who are experts in the field. Yet, when it comes to the question of “Who is a Jew,” a question that affects every aspect of our daily life, even a Christian is given a say. This is a danger which leads to the three most serious sins: forbidden relations, murder and idolatry.
The absurdity of the situation is further emphasized by the fact that when someone questioned one of the women who received a certificate calling her a Jew about her faith, she replied, “I am a Christian and will educate my children as Christians.” Despite this, the law continues to exist year after year without change.
Likewise, it is the same government which endangered all the people in Eretz Yisrael by returning the oil wells of the Sinai, over one third of their entire petroleum resources. Besides the economic factors involved in this return, today oil is “arms” and is necessary for the defense of the country. The Shulchan Aruch writes that if non-Jews attack a city, demanding even things of no value, one is obligated to take up arms against them. This Halachah applies to all Jewish settlements in the Diaspora as well as Eretz Yisrael. (The Talmud mentions it in regard to Nehardia, a city in Babylonia.) Surely, it is applicable in the present situation.
Furthermore, on the basis of the same treaty, there are those calling for the return of the “conquered territories,” including even the Old City of Yerushalayim. These are not conquered territories, but liberated territories, land which G-d has, to quote Rashi, “taken from them and given to us.”
Thus we see a pattern that the same people who have taken hundreds of thousands of dollars collected from Jews all over the world at the inspirational peaks of Yizkor and Kol Nidrei to register goyim as Jews and settle them in Eretz Yisrael are those who are returning land strategically important to Eretz Yisrael. They are at war with Judaism and have created a state of Pikuach Nefesh (threat of life) in a spiritual sense in Eretz Yisrael.
Despite these problems, even in the time of Golus, if one follows Torah than as the Torah promises, “If you walk in My statutes, I will give your rains in their season... I shall grant peace to the land, you shall dwell [in it] without being frightened.” on the contrary, “all the nations of the world will see that the name of G-d is called upon you and they will fear you.” Even during the time of exile, “kings will be your servants,” the strongest nations in the world will serve the Jewish people.
- (Back to text) This is particularly true at present, in the days following Yom Kippur, when the essence of every Jew was aroused.
- (Back to text) The previous Rebbe declared that “it was not with our will that we entered exile, nor is it dependent on our will to leave exile.” Hence, the present age cannot be called “even the beginning of the redemption.” on the contrary, as the above-mentioned problems of Mihu Yehudi and Camp David prove, we are constantly under pressure from the non-Jews and live in a deeper exile than we have ever faced before.