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Shabbat Morning Class - Succot

????? - Succot

Rabbi Mansour 2010

It is written that Avraham Avinu fulfilled the Misvah of Succah. This is known from
the Pasuk; " ?????? ??? ?? ????? ??' ??? ?? ????? ??? "-"and Avraham was old, well
advanced in age; and Hashem had blessed Avraham in all things".
The word ??? is comprised of the first letters of the Pesukim that discuss the
Misvah of Succah:
?????? ???? ???? ???? ?? ???? ????? ???? ?????????? ???? ???????? ?? ????? ?????? ?? ??? ?????
There is a special connection between Avraham Avinu and the Misvah of
Succah. The holiday of Succot is the culmination of the high holidays, the process of
Teshuvah and returning to Hashem that we began with Selihot in the beginning of Elul,
and went through Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur with the fear of judgment and
begging Hashem to forgive us for our sins. We then enter the holiday of Succot hoping
to connect to Hashem on a different level.
There are several levels in Teshuvah and repenting for our sins. The "lowest"
level is called "fear of punishment for sin" where a person fears the punishment that
awaits him as a result of his sins. Although it is admirable that he is repenting for his
sins, this is considered a lower level of Teshuvah (many of us wish to merit even this
The level above this is when the person "fears the damage that he has done
through his sin". That is, he is not worried about his punishment as much as he is the
damage that he wreaked. (Meaning, even if he was told that he would not be punished
and he has nothing to fear, he would still be upset about the damage done from his sin
[much destruction occurs both in the heavens and in this world as a result of a personís
The level above this is when a person contemplates the awesomeness of
Hashem. Hashem is so great and powerful how dare he have sinned against him!!
Even if he was told that he would not be punished and the damage that was caused by
his sin was repaired, even so, the person is frightened because he realizes that he had
the audacity to go against the will of the king of kings!
The level above this is Teshuvah Meahavah. When the person is not motivated
by fear, only it is his love of Hashem for all that he does for him that motivates him to
return to Hashem. If we stopped to think for a moment of the countless good that
Hashem is continuously bestowing upon us it is overwhelming! A person realizes this
and is filled with a tremendous love for Hashem, and this is what motivates him to
repent. (It is a positive Misvah from the Torah to love Hashem, as we say in Shema
every day "...' ????? ?? ? "-"you should love Hashem". This is a Misvah that we can
fulfill over and over again throughout the day, by thinking about how good Hashem is
to us and what a wonderful world he created etc. This is a Misvah that people may
overlook, but it is a basic obligation and Misvah that we must take advantage of. This
Misvah also breeds in us a continuous love of Hashem and fortifies us to stay on the
"right path" as well as an ability to persevere through any ?'? difficulty we may
This level of Teshuvah Meahavah is not dependent on how "smoothly" things go
for a person; it is only that he is filled with a deep love of Hashem that is not dependant
on anything physical.
We begin our Teshuvah process with the Selihot in Elul and we continue through
Yom Kippur, where we beg Hashem to forgive us. We realize it is the time that we are
being judged for the upcoming year, and we are frightened and nervous about how our
judgment will turn out. When Yom Kippur is over we are confident that we have
properly confessed our sins and ?''? have been blessed with a good year. We then
celebrate Succot.
Succot is when we return to Hashem on an entirely different level. We are no
longer afraid of our sins and of being punished. We have already cried and said the
confessions of Yom Kippur. We now want to return to Hashem simply because we love
him. We reach the level of Teshuvah Meahavah and are filled with a tremendous
genuine love of Hashem. We repent again, only this time with an entirely different
approach. We love Hashem! How could we have sinned against him?! Itís not because
we are afraid of being punished - this time we want to repent out of love.
There is a very big difference between ????? ????? and ????? ????? . When a
person repents out of fear the Averot that he committed they are considered as if they
were done "by accident", therefore he is no longer responsible for them. However
when a person repents out of love his Averot actually turn into Misvot. It is as if instead
of a transgression the act turns into a Misvah, and he is rewarded for it!
This is illustrated in a story about the Loliver Rebbe. The Loliver Rebbe was a
??? ????? . When the Rebbe was on his death bed it seemed to some of his students
that was depressed or fearful, "donít worry" his students told him "it is as though they
never happened" (referring to the period of his life that the Rebbe was non observant
of which they assumed the Averot he committed was causing him distress). The Rebbe
replied; on the contrary! I am not relinquishing any of them! I do not let any one of them
go! The Rebbe returned to Hashem with such love that he knew that his former Averot
were now Misvot so on the contrary, he now valued every single Aveirah he committed
because they are now Misvot! The Averot he committed ended up causing an
increased love for Hashem, they now fueled feelings of wonder at how could he ever
have donít these acts against Hashem that he loves so much! In the final analysis they
cause him to think of how good Hashem is, and how much he loves him!
This explains a Pasuk in Tehilim " -"???? ????? ????? ?? ????? ????? ??? ?? ???
"remembers not the sins of my youth nor my transgression; according to your kindness
remember me".
Why would we first ask Hashem not to remember, than ask him to remember?
It is because at first we repented out of fear, so our Averot were turned into
"accidental" Averot of which we did not want Hashem to remember. Later when we
return to Hashem out of love, we want Hashem to remember the sins because they are
now Misvot!!
We also see this concept at one of the procedures of Yom Kippur. In the times of
the Beit Hamikdash, the Jews would throw the ???? ?????? -(the goat chosen to be
sent out) off a cliff. There was a red cloth that represented the sins of the Jews. By the
time the goat was only part of the way down the mountain, the red string turned white,
indicating that the sins of the Jews had been forgiven. White is the color of purity and
Misvot. The red turned to white showing that not only had they been forgiven, but that
the Averot were now Misvot! As the Pasuk says; " -"?? ???? ????? ????? ???? ??????
"though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow".
This concept is hinted in the Pasuk: " ?? ???? ???? ?? ???? ??? "-"do not hate an
Adumite, for he is your brother"
This can be explained; "donít hate ???? " - what is red ( ???? , literally means red)
meaning; donít hate your sins (as mentioned above, the red string represents sins).
Why not? " ?? ???? ??? ", the word ???? stands for the Pasuk ?? ???? ????? ???? Ėthey will
turn white like snow, and be considered Misvot! Donít hate them; only value them
because now they are Misvot!
With this concept we understand a statement of the Rabbis that refer to Succot
as " ????? ?????? ????? "-"the beginning of the count of sins".
Why would Succot be referred to as the beginning of sins?! Were we not involved
in purchasing Lulav and Etrog, building a Succah, preparing for the holiday! We have
not even "had the time" to sin! We now understand that this statement is speaking of
our former sins, and it is now that we want our past sins brought up because, as
explained they are now to our benefit, since they will be reckoned as Misvot!
We now understand a statement that the holiday of Succot is related to the name
of Hashem of .?-?
What is the connection between Succot and Hashemís name of ?-? ? The name
of ? -? is used in two of Hashemís attributes, the attribute of ??? as well as his attribute
of ??? . The Pasuk says " ??? ?-? ?? ???? "- which speaks of Hashemís kindness. A
different Pasuk says " ?-? ???? ??? ??? "-referring to Hashemís attribute of Judgment- .???
This "dual usage" of the name ?-? is connected to Succot, because on Succot our
????? , which were previously causing us evil, now causes us good, because they are
now Misvot! Succot thereby creates a situation of "dual usage" through the "dual effect"
of our !?????
In addition, there is a Pasuk " ?? ?-? ???? "- that list the 13 attributes of Hashem.
One of them is ??? ??? -"forgiving iniquity" and one of them is " ???? ???????? -"suppress our
iniquities". At first when we repent Hashem is ??? ??? which literally means "bears" our
sins, as if Hashem places our sins on his shoulders and carries them. However, after
we repent out of love Hashem is: ????? ???????? , the word ????? connotes "pushing with
pressure". It is as if Hashem pushes our sins back down in order that we turn them into
This is why it says that we sleep and eat in the ???? , in order to be protected from
the Satan who attacks us at this time. We do battle with him and we sleep in the
Succah just as a soldier sleeps in the field. We shake a Lulav which is reminiscent of a
sword just as a soldier uses a sword as a weapon in battle. The Succah is the ???
????? -the "protective light" that surrounds us and protects us.
But why would the Satan be attacking us now? Why do we need the special
protection from his attacks? Arenít we in the process of ????? ????? ?! We are
repenting out of love why would we be attacked?
The reason is because Hashem is ???? ???????? ; he pushes our sins back down so
that we can turn them into Misvot. When the Satan and his "vultures" smell the scent of
sin that returns back down in order to be rectified, they attack and try to recapture
these sins. It is for this reason that we need Hashemís special protection and we fight
off this Satan that attacks in order to take back the sins.
This also explains the Pasuk that says: " ???? ?? ???? "-which literally means: he is
acquitted- he is not acquitted. How do we understand this Pasuk? Which one is it, -???
acquitted, or ?? ???? -not acquitted?
The explanation is that at first we want Hashem to "forget" our sins, but after we
repent out of love we do not want him to forget them. The Pasuk is understood as
follows: " ???? " - At first we want Hashem to acquit and erase our sins, but after ?????
????? , then " ?? ???? "- do not erase them, bring them back so that they can be turned
into Misvot!
This idea is represented by Avraham Avinu (we began with Avraham Avinuís
unique connection to Succot). The Pasuk says about Avraham Avinu " -"?? ?? ??????
"your youth is like the dew". It is explained to mean " ?? ?? ???? ?? ????? ???? "-"just as
the dew "flies away" so too the years "fly away". The Pasuk is speaking of the first
three years of Avraham Avinuís life, when he did not yet recognize Hashem. In effect,
Avraham Avinu was a Baal Teshuvah having only discovered Hashem at three years
old. The Pasuk is telling Avraham:"just like the dew flies away, so too your youth (the
years he did not yet know Hashem) will "fly away". We now understand the Pasuk to
be teaching us a different point. The word ???? also means to blossom. The Pasuk is
saying that just as dew causes vegetation to blossom, so too your years that you did
not recognize Hashem will blossom. They are all years full of Misvot from the ?????
????? that Avraham Avinu had for them! This is an explanation of the original Pasuk
given " ?????? ??? ?? ????? "-"Avraham came with his days", he accounted for all of his
days even those days that comprised the years that he did not know of Hashem, which
were now considered years full of Misvot. Avraham Avinu represents ,????? ?????
just like the holiday of Succot!
This is alluded to in the two letters ' ?ís in Hashemís name of ?-?-? -? - which stand
for the two types of Teshuvah. (As mentioned in previous classes, Teshuvah is
represented by the letter ? of Hashemís name. The word ????? is comprised to spell
(????- ?
This letter of Teshuvah Ė the letter ' ?, was the letter added to ????? ís name
showing that he had mastered the highest level of Teshuvah. In addition, the shape of
a ???? forms the letter ' ?. The minimum requirements of a Succah is 2 Ĺ walls, which
appear as a letter ' ? when assembled.
We see the amazing connection between the holiday of Succot, Avraham Avinu,
Teshuvah Meahavah, the letter ' ?, the name of ? -? , and the Pesukim and statements
explained with the concept of reviving and giving positive life to all the Averot
committed. We must realize what an opportunity we have on this holiday to return to
Hashem and reconnect to him. We can infuse goodness and life to our past misdeeds
and we can start fresh with not just a clean slate, but a positive slate full of Misvot! We
should merit to take full advantage of this opportunity, and feel Hashemís love for us
thereby creating in us an increased love for him , Amen!

Parashat Behaalotecha- Rectification is Always Possible
Parashat Naso- Emuna First
Shavuot- Celebrating the Eternal Torah
Shavuot- The Challenge Ė and Rewards Ė of Torah Commitment
Parashat Behar- Experiencing the Sweetness and Delight of Torah
Parashat Emor- Keter Shem Tob 'The Crown of Good Reputation'
Parashat Ahare Mot- Planting Our Spiritual Trees
Parashat Shemini- Respect and Reverence in the Synagogue
Pesah: Redemption Then and Now
Pesah- Its A Mirage
Parashat Vayikra- The Triple Sin of Dishonesty
Parashat Pekudeh- Counting the Things That Matter
Parashat Ki Tisa- The Sanctity of Every Jew
Purim and the Sale of Yosef
Parashat Terumah- The Torahís ďFootstepsĒ
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