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  KD MAGAZINE!                  ב"ה  
 

B”H

Shalom and Bracha!
 

May all of the blessings Hashem granted you and your beloved on Rosh Hashanah materialize speedily and openly for a great and blessed year.
 

Sunday night, September 30th, ushers in the festival of Sukkot. Among all of our holidays, Sukkot is referred to as the time of our rejoicing. Unity and joy are the central themes of the holiday that are expressed in its two special Mitzvot, the Sukkah and the Lulav. We are commanded to dwell in the Sukkah in order to remind ourselves of the Clouds of Glory that surrounded us during the Exodus from Egypt. The Mitzvah is unique in that it unites all parts of our body in the fulfillment of the Mitzvah. When we put on Tefillin, our hand and head are active, and our body is passive. When we study Torah, our minds and mouths are active, but our body is passive. When we enter a Sukkah, we are entirely encompassed in the Mitzvah. Similarly, the Sukkah unites all its participants. When we share a Seder, we each eat a separate piece of Matzah. One Sukkah encompasses all its participants.
 

The Talmud learns from the verse “All the citizens of Israel shall sit in Sukkot” that the entire Jewish are fit to sit in one Sukkah. Thus the Sukkah has the power to unite the entire Jewish nation.

The Midrash explains that the four species represent different groups among the Jewish people. The Etrog (citron) represents the scholarly and pious. The Lulav (palm branch) represents the knowledgeable that are less pious. The Hadasim (myrtle branches) represent the pious who are less scholarly, and the Arava (willow) represent the less pious and less knowledgeable. In order to fulfill the Mitzvah, all four must be held together. If any of the four are lacking, there is no Mitzvah. Similarly, we must act as a united nation to received Hashem’s blessing.

 

The Midrash continues that each of the species refers to Hashem, and the Kabbalah teaches that each represents one of the four letters of Hashem’s name. The Midrash continues that the Lulav is like the heart, the Etrog is like the heart, and the myrtle and willows are like the eyes and mouth. Through this Mitzvah we internalize Hashem presence in the limbs of our body!

The Mitzvah of Lulav is also connected with victory over our enemies. The Midrash explains the Mitzvah with a parable of two people exiting from a court of justice and we don’t know who won. If one exits with a flag, he won in judgment. On Rosh Hashanah, Hashem judges between the people of Israel and our enemies. When we raise the Lulav, it is a sign of victory. This year, when then enemies of the Jewish people are particularly vocal and vile, it is very important to encourage every Jew to fulfill the Mitzvah of the Lulav and Etrog.

 

During the times of the Temple, every night a celebration was held when the water was drawn for the Temple service. The Talmud says that no celebration paralleled the joy of the drawing of the water. Seemingly, what’s so exciting about drawing water? When we conclude the days of awe, we rejoice in our bond with Hashem that is beyond extraneous expression. Water is simple and basic, but if we are drawing it for Hashem, the very service of Hashem is pure joy.

 

The prophet teaches that in the times of Moshiach all of the nations will join in the celebration of Sukkot in Yerushalayim. May Hashem grant that the unity of peoples towards elimination of evil will speedily lead to the unity of the entire world with the coming of Moshiach.

 

Chag Sameach,

Rabbi Biggs

 

--

Sukkot Guide

 

Sunday and Monday night the blessings for candles are 1) Baruch Atta Adonai Elohainu Melech Haolam Asher Kid’shanu B’mitzvotav V’tzivanu L’hadlik Ner Shel Yom Tov. 2) Baruch Atta Adonai Elohainu Melech Haolam Shehechiyanu V’kimanu V’higyanu Lizman Hazeh. Although on the holiday it is permissible to light a flame from an existing flame, it is forbidden to create a new flame, as per example striking a match. Therefore, Monday night the candles should be lit from an existing flame.

Sunday night begins the Mitzvah of eating in the Sukkah. Every meal until next Tuesday night should be eaten in the Sukkah. The first night is of particular importance. Every time we eat in the Sukkah we make the blessing “Baruch Atta Adonai Elohainu Melech Haolam Asher Kid’shanu B’mitzvotav V’tzivanu Leysheyv Basukkah.” The first time we eat in the Sukkah each year we make the additional blessing “Baruch Atta Adonai Elohainu Melech Haolam Shehechiyanu V’kiymanu V’higyanu Lizman Hazeh.” If the first time is Sunday night, the blessing Shehechiyanu is included in the Kiddush.

Monday morning we begin the Mitzvah of Lulav and continue through the following Sunday, every day except Shabbat. The blessing over the Lulav must be said during the day. The blessing is “Baruch Atta Adonai Elohainu Melech Haolam Asher Kid’shanu B’mitzvotav V’tzivanu Al Netilat Lulav.” The first time we also make the blessing Baruch Atta Adonai Elohainu Melech Haolam Shehechiyanu V’kiymanu V’higyanu Lizman Hazeh. The Lulav should be held in the right hand while making the blessing. Thereafter, the Etrog should be held in the left hand and touch the Lulav. Together they should be waved right, left, forward, up down, and backward. This symbolizes bringing the blessings in all directions. It is desirable to make the blessing on the Lulav in the Sukkah.

Tuesday night Havdalah is said without candles and spices. It is customary to make Havdalah in the Sukkah.

May Hashem grant you a wonderful holiday and fantastic year. Through rejoicing throughout the week of Sukkot and Simchat Torah we can affect as much as through intensive prayer on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. In a difficult year such as this one we must rejoice with extra intensity and include as many people as possible in the Mitzvot of the festival and the rejoicing.

Chag Sameach!!

Rabbi Biggs

Dedicated in merit of Sholom Mordechai Ben Rivkah Halevy for Cheirut Amiti

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