From the Chassidic Masters
Rebbe, R. Menachem Mendel of Kotsk was once told of a certain other tzaddik,
who said of himself that he sees each year all seven Ushpezhin ("Seven
Heavenly Guests") in his sukkah.
Replied the Kotsker: I myself don't
see them, but I nevertheless believe the statement of our sages of blessed memory
that they come to every sukkah, and through this faith I see more than they do
with their eyes!
From the Rebbes of
In the same way that the sukka is our temporary
dwelling during Sukkot, so too should a person view his sojourn in this world
as only temporary. For in truth, the soul's descent into a physical body is only
for a specified, limited time. "In sukkot you shall dwell for seven days"
alludes to the seven midot (emotions or character traits) that must be refined
and purified in the course of our "70-year" life-span.
Altering the vowels slightly,
the letters of the word "lulav", lamed-vav-lamed-veit, can also
be read "lu lev" - "would that the heart." A Jew must be of
"one heart," directed solely toward G-d and things that are holy. Indeed,
G-d is described as "the rock of my heart," meaning that the central,
inner core of one's existence should consist only of G-d.
From the Kabbalists
Of The Etrog"
"And ye shall take you on the first day,
'pri etz hadar' (the fruit of the goodly tree)" [Leviticus 23:40]
the way of the Truth [the mystic teachings of the Kabbalah], 'pri etz hadar' (the
fruit of the goodly tree) is the fruit in which there is a great deal of desire,
and the first man sinned with it, as it is said, And when the woman saw that the
tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree
was to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat.
Thus the sin consisted of taking the etrog alone, and we obtain His favor by taking
the etrog together with the other species
. From here you can understand
that the etrog is not bound up with the other three species, and yet it invalidates
[the performance of the commandment] if it is not taken together with them. It
is comparable to Atzereth (the eighth day of Sukkot), which is a festival of its
own, and yet is supplementary to the first days. They are one in potentiality
but not in actuality.
Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman (known as 'RAMBAN' or
Some Laws and Customs
"What to Do in a Sukkah"
is an extraordinary mitzvah!
First: the mitzvah of sukkah is done with
the entire body - all of you sits in the sukkah - while most mitzvot are performed
with specific parts of the body (e.g. tefillin with the hand and head).
a person can dwell in his sukkah virtually the entire holiday - the longer you
stay, the more the mitzvah! - while most mitzvot are done for a limited period
of time only (ex. Shabbat candles-Friday afternoon).
Third: since the sukkah
is your "house" during Sukkot, you are centered there and "home-in"
to it, and therefore are connected to the mitzvah of dwelling in the sukkah even
when you leave it. It is as if it follows you around wherever you go!
through sukkah, nearly all of our mundane activities can be transformed into holy
acts. In general, the routine activities of eating, sleeping, socializing, etc.
are not necessarily mitzvot. During Sukkot, however, by doing all these activities
in a sukkah, they acquire the level of mitzvot, and thus become infused with holiness
for the entire year to come.
Try to maintain consciousness of all of these
aspects of the mitzvah. One of the most potent lessons of the sukkah is that,
as Jews, all our activities can become mitzvot, and we can connect to G-d in whatever
we do, no matter how "mundane" it may seem.
Good Yom Tov!
- The ASCENT staff - Chag Sameyach!
Last year's Sukkot page