This issue is sponsored l'iluy Nishmas
Vol. 21 No. 53
Yitel bas Aba a"h
with love from her family
Succos & The Yamim Nora'im
(Adapted from the Oznayim la'Torah)
On the fifteenth day of the seventh month shall be for you a holy calling, you may not perform any servile work on it; you shall celebrate a festival to Hashem for seven days" (Pinchas, 29:12).
The Oznayim la'Torah points to a discrepancy between the words in this Pasuk "the seventh month" and the Pasuk in Emor, which adds the word "this ("in this seventh month"), following the Parshiyos of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipur. (Note that, in the current Parshah, the Torah omits any mention of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipur).
The latter, he explains, connects Succos with Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipur to teach us that a person who did not succeed in performing Teshuvah during the Yamim Nora'im, still has a chance to do so whilst performing the many Mitzvos that one performs on Succos. This clarifies why the Torah refers to so many Mitzvos that one does on Succos - Succah and Lulav etc., says the author, and it explains the secret of 'the concluding seal' that takes place at the end of Succos.
In the current Parshah, on the other hand, the Torah discusses nothing other than the Musaf-offering and its international significance. Hence Yisrael, who, understand that the entire world is being judged for its water supply, bring Korbanos on behalf of all the seventy nations of the world, who do not. And it makes no mention of the Mitzvos of Succos, because that is not the aspect of the Yom-Tov that is being discussed here.
The Seven Days of Succos
(Adapted from the Oznayim la'Torah)
There is no need to search for reasons as to why Pesach lasts seven days. The Exodus from Egypt began when they left Egypt on the fifteenth of Nisan, and it terminated on the twenty-first, with the drowning of the Egyptians in the Yam-Suf - seven days later.
But what is the significance of the seven days of Succos? It is certainly not due to the seventy bulls that Yisrael brought on behalf of the bulls, he argues, since they could have brought them all on any number of days. So why did G-d choose to have them brought specifically on seven days?
The Oznayim la'Torah answers by attributing the seven days to the seven fruits for which Eretz Yisrael is praised ("wheat, barley, grapes
"), as the Torah writes in Parshas Eikev (chapter 8), on account of which the Torah there repeats the word "Eretz" seven times (Ba'al ha'Turim), since it is the land that belonged to the seven Canaanite nations. Therefore G-d commanded us to celebrate seven days of thanks to Hashem for the land and for the fruit, one day for each fruit, since each one has a quality of its own, as Chazal indicate when discussing the order of B'rachos (See B'rachos, 41).
It seems to me that the author might also have attributed the seven days to the seven Ushpizin (Avraham, Yitzchak, Ya'akov, Moshe, Aharon, Yosef, David), each of which is represented by the seven days of Succos.
Moreover, his objection to his first explanation does not take into account the lesson that we learn from the descending order of bulls day by day, from thirteen down to seven - though he himself does vaguely refer to this in the course of his explanation.
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Minhagim of Succos
(Adapted from the Yalkut Yitzchak citing the Rokei'ach)
Seven Plus Six Equals Thirteen
The Minhag for the Chazan together with the community to walk round the Sefer-Torah with their Lulavim once each day of Succos (except for Shabbos) and to walk round seven Sifrei-Torah seven times on Hosha'ana Rabah, is to commemorate the first battle which Yisrael fought in the conquest of Cana'an. There too, they walked round Yericho once on six consecutive days, and seven times on the seventh. On that occasion, seven Kohanim followed the Aron in front of the troops blowing seven Shofros during the first six days and seven trumpets on the seventh. Yisrael's victory there was the first of the conquest of Cana'an, and that is presumably why the Tefilos that we recite on this occasion are introduced with the word 'Hasha'ana', which in turn, is why the current ceremony is called 'Hosha'anos'.
Correspondingly, seven 'Kolos' are mentioned in "Mizmor le'David Havu la'Hashem b'nei Eilim
Kol Hashem al ha'Mayim
". That explains why we pray for water on Hosha'ana Rabah, as we walk round the Bimah/Sefer-Toros during the Hosha'anos.
The thirteen times that we go round the Bimah on Succos add up to thirteen, which correspond, says the Rokei'ach, to the total of thirteen times that Hakadosh-Baruch-Hu spoke to the Avos, as well as to the thirteen Midos of Hashem ("Hashem, Hashem, Keil, Rachum, ve'Chanun
") and the thirteen Midos by which the Torah is expounded ('Kal va'Chomer, Gezeirah-Shavah
Rain and Nedarim
The seventh day of Succos (Hosha'ana Rabah) is the day on which we Daven for rain/water. Indeed, the Aravah grows by water. It is also the day on which more Korbanos are brought than on any other day of the year, says the Rokei'ach. This is because it is the last chance that one has to bring the Nedarim and Nedavos (voluntary sacrifices) that one undertook to bring, before transgressing the La'av of 'Bal Te'acher'.
Chazal point to a strong connection between the two issues (water/rain and Nedarim and Nedavos), when, based on a Pasuk in Mishlei (8:5) they say that it is on account of people who break their vows that G-d withholds rain from the world (Note the Gemara in Ta'anis, 19a). (Actually it refers to people who undertake to give Tzedakah and who do not adhere to their undertaking.).
And this explains the juxtaposition of the Parshah of Nedarim next to that of Succos. Moreover in Pesukim in Ha'azinu (32:2) and in Iyov (29:23), the Torah equates speech with rain. Perhaps that is why the Aravah is liturgically compared to the mouth, which it also resembles.
And that also explains why G-d's judgement concerning rain follows the termination of the Korban season, as we explained. It teaches us that if we abide by our promises to bring the Korbanos that we undertook to bring within the allotted time, G-d will send us rain.
Untying the Knot
(Adapted from the Ta'amei ha'Minhagim)
Citing the Zera Kodesh, the Ta'amei ha'Minhagim explains that the Minhag to untie the knot during the Hosha'anos on Hosha'ana Rabah is comparable to saying to a woman who is due to give birth 'May Hashem untie your knot' - a blessing that she should give birth successfully. So too does untying the knot symbolize a prayer that Hashem should 'untie the knot' and send the Mashi'ach (which Yeshayah describes in the words as "a son will be born to us
Alternatively, he says, the loose branches of the Lulav remind Hashem that we are scattered among the nations, and that He should gather and unite us once again.
Banging the Aravah on the Ground
The reason that we bang the Aravah on the ground (five times) on Hosha'anah Rabah at the conclusion of the Hosha'anos, based on the fact that the Aravos represent Midas ha'Din, is in order to vanquish the Midas ha'Din and to bring it down to the ground (like a wrestler defeats his opponent).
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