Divrei HaRav

Sukkos / סוכות

Sukkos / סוכות
The Gemora refers to a dispute as to what exactly were the sukkos. Are they a reminder of the clouds which surrounded us in the midbar, or are they supposed to remind us of the actual huts in which we lived? The Chasam Sofer reconciles both opinions. He points out that the sukkos, or huts, in which we lived were used to position ourselves to wage war with “Sichon” in order to eventually enter Eretz Yisroel. But the real power of this was the fact that we emerged from the security of the heavenly (sukkos) clouds to fight a war which placed us in little huts. The main idea, however, was that there was no change in our status, no change in our steadfast faith. So, we really remember both sukkos.

In one place in the Gemora we find a directive to discuss the laws of each holiday even thirty days prior to that “chag”. But in another Gemora, we find a law established by Moshe Rabenu to involve oneself in study of that particular “chag” on the day of the holiday itself. How do we reconcile these two statements? Rav Hutner ‘z’l offers an answer. Thirty days before the Yom Tov we begin to study so that we will familiarize ourselves with the mitzvah. However, even on the day itself there is a mitvah to study the laws of the Yom Tov to imbue ourselves with a warmth and a glow from the Holiday. It is the study of Torah for its own sake. (Mishulchan Gevoah).

The Mishna tells a story of one who slept in a sukka under a high bed. It rules, he has not fulfilled his obligation to sleep in sukka. Why then the expression “he has not fulfilled his obligation”? It is only if one wishes to sleep that he must do so in a sukkah. It should say, it is forbidden to sleep under a bed in a sukkah. The Mahril Diskin offers an answer. In a situation where one could be exempt from sukka because of discomfort, and figures he will at least sleep under a protection in the sukka rather then leave the sukka, the Mishna reminds us that one does not fulfill his obligation in this manner and so it is actually as if he were in the house.

In Parshas Emor, the laws of Sukkos are followed by the description of the Menora and then the “lechem hapanim”, the breads upon the shulchan, or table, in the Mishkon. Interestingly enough, Sukkos is our holiday of joy for the repentance and the forgiveness of our sins on Yom Kippur. We are happy that the slate has been wiped clean. On the other hand, there is the joy of the harvest season. We sit in sukkos to remember the spiritual clouds of glory and also the existence in the wilderness under the watchful eye of HaShem. We wave the lulav as a flag of the victory on the Yomim Noraim but it also is a reminder of the hope for a good rain season. So, the spiritual and the physical world are well represented on Sukkos. To enhance this message, the Torah positions the holy Menora with its shining rays of spiritual light and the lechem hapanim - which represented the essential “parnassa”, livelihood, of the Jewish people - right next to the holiday of Sukkos which contains elements of both of these.



Previous Parshos

Tazria Metzora Achrei Mos Kedoshim Emor Behar Bechukosai Bamidbar Shavuos Naso Behalosicha Shilach Korach Chukas-Balak Pinchos Matos-Masei Devorim Voeschonon Ekev Reah Shoftim Ki Seitzei Ki Savo Nitzovim - Vayelech Rosh HaShana Haazinu-Yom Kippur Sukkos V'zos HaBrocha Breishis