From the Chassidic Masters
four Hebrew letters of the word sukkah are an acronym for "someich ve'ozer
kol hanoflim - [He] supports and assists all who fall." When a Jew fulfills
the mitzva of sukkah, G-d helps him in all he does and holds him by the hand.
Rebbes of Chabad
Among the many young men drawn to Rabbi Shneur Zalman
when he began to disseminate the teachings of Chabad chasidism were two sons of
one of the leading Torah scholars of the time. One day, they approached the Rebbe
about whether they should try to win over their distinguished father to the Chasidic
approach of imbuing everything with joy, or was he perhaps too set in his ways
to change at this point in his life. The Rebbe asked if their father performs
In response, one of the sons related, "Each year,
when we finish building our sukkah, our father climbs up and kisses the branches
covering the sukkah."
"In that case," said Rabbi Shneur
Zalman, "he is fine the way he is."
(Sefer HaMaamarim Kuntreisim)
From the Kabbalists
the 4 species, (which according to the Zohar represent the four letters
in the holy name of G-d) we express our joy in His joy, His celebration. According
to tradition, the 15th of Tishrei is the first day on which our sins are recorded
again after the Day of Atonement. So we arm ourselves with symbols of His holy
name, to appeal to His mercy and kindness, to help us resist our evil urge.
Some Laws and Customs
Chol HaMoed - The Weekdays of the Festival
We required to honor Chol Hamoed, and to sanctify it through cessation
of labor, good food and drink, and proper clothes.
Any labor in a matter
where loss would be sustained, if the act were not done at the time - is permitted.
However, even where loss would be sustained by delay, if the particular labor
could have been done before Yom Tov, but was deliberately not done, with the thought
that it could still be done on Yom Tov, it is prohibited. If one had a certain
prohibited-on-Chol-HaMoed labor to be done, and a poor man asked to do it in order
to be able to provide for the needs of Yom Tov with the wages he would earn, it
is permitted, provided it be done in privacy.
It is forbidden to cut one's
hair during Chol Hamoed, but if one could not cut his hair before Yom Tov (a mourner,
or a prisoner), he may do so during Chol Hamoed. The washing of clothes is prohibited,
other than if they are greatly needed for the forthcoming Yom Tov, and it was
completely impossible for them to be washed Erev Yom Tov. The washing of baby
diapers is permitted.
Business matters may not be written down, except if
one fears that he might otherwise forget such details as would cause him a loss.
Friendly letters, which contain no reference to business matters may be written,
but not in one's customary manner.
One may not move from one residence to
another (unless the new apartment is in the same courtyard as the old). If one
has been living in a rented apartment and wishes to move to a residence of his
own, he is permitted to do so, for it is a joy to a person to live in a residence
that is his own.
The buying and selling of merchandise is prohibited on
Chol Hamoed unless one of the following conditions applies:
1. One needs to
earn a sum in order to provide for the festival;
2. He has an opportunity
to earn a much larger profit than usual, and if he could obtain it, he would spend
more than he originally intended, in honor of Yom Tov;
3. If he should fail
to sell now, he would lose even the principal. However, the loss of profit is
not considered a loss.
(Based on The Book of Our Heritage)
Good Yom Tov! - The ASCENT staff - Chag Sameyach!
Last year's Sukkot page