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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Here are some interesting questions, mostly regarding Sukos and some on other Yomim Tovim. Some have more than one answer. However, don't be quick to answer, as some questions require hair-splitting responses.

1) Why do we only have a remembrance for the clouds of glory and not for the manna and the wellspring of Miriam?

2) Why do we make a separate blessing each time we enter the sukoh and have a meal and don't make a blessing on Pesach each time we eat matzoh?

3) Why in chutz lo'oretz do we make a blessing of "she'heche'yonu" on the first night of Sukos after the blessing of "leisheiv basukoh" so that the "she'heche'yonu" should include the first time we fulfill the mitzvoh of being in a sukoh, and on the second night we say the "she'heche'yonu" blessing before the "leisheiv basukoh" so that the "she'heche'yonu" does not include the being in the sukoh, since we have already done this on the first night? Since every second day of Yom Tov in chutz lo'oretz is kept in a manner of "sfeikoh d'yoma," a doubt as to which is the first day, why don't we include the "yeshivas sukoh" in the "she'heche'yonu" blessing since we might have been in the sukoh the previous night on the eve of the Yom Tov, just as we repeat the "she'heche'yonu" in kidush?

4) Similarly, why do we only make the "she'heche'yonu" blessing on the taking of the four species on the first day of Yom Tov and not on the second day as well?

5) Why on Shabbos Cholo Shel Mo'eid Sukos do we include the Sukos Yom Tov in the Haftorah blessing along with Shabbos, and on Shabbos Cholo Shel Mo'eid Pesach do we only mention Shabbos in the Haftorah blessing?

6) The gemara Rosh Hashonoh 29b says that the Rabbis made an injunction to not blow the shofar on Shabbos Rosh Hashonoh lest someone take a shofar through a public domain to an authority to have a question answered regarding the ritual fitness of the shofar. The gemara says that for this same reason the Rabbis have made an injunction against taking the four species on Shabbos even when it is the first day of Sukos, and also against reading the Megilas Esther on Shabbos Purim. Why was an injunction not made for the same reason to prohibit:

a) a bris from taking place on Shabbos, lest a circumcision knife might be carried through a public domain?

b) matzoh from being eaten on the first night of Pesach, lest it be brought to an halachic authority to decide if it is not chomeitz, if it is of sufficient volume, etc.?

c) Megilas Rus from being read on Shabbos Shovuos or Megilas Koheles from being read (on the first day of Sukos in Eretz Yisroel and on Shmini Atzeres in chutz lo'oretz) when it is Shabbos, lest the Megiloh be carried through a public domain to an halachic authority to decide if it is fit for reading?

7) Why in chutz lo'oretz don't we take the four species on Shmini Atzeres without a blessing because of a "s'feikoh d'yoma" of the last day of Sukos, just like we eat in the Sukoh on Shmini Atzeres without a blessing?

8) Why in chutz lo'oretz don't we also sleep in the Sukoh on the night of Shmini Atzeres just like we eat there?

9) Some people who eat in the Sukoh on Shmini Atzeres do so by day only and not by night. Why?

10) What is the basis for not eating in the Sukoh even by day on Shmini Atzeres?

11) Why are the four species no longer muktzoh on Simchas Torah, and the Sukoh decorations muktzoh until after Simchas Torah?

12) Why isn't Shmini Atzeres fifty days after Sukos, just as Shovuos is fifty days after Pesach?

13) Why on Shmini Atzeres do we start the reading of the Torah from "A'seir t'a'seir" (Dvorim 14:22) even when Shmini Atzeres is on a weekday and only has five "aliyos," and on the last day of Pesach and the second day of Shovuos which is not on Shabbos we begin further along in the parsha with "Kol habchor" (Dvorim 15:19)?

14) Why do we say the prayers for rain, GESHEM, at the end of the Sukos holiday, and the prayers for dew, TAL, at the beginning of Pesach?


Not only is the day after Sukos called Atzeres (Vayikroh 23:36, "Atzeres hee" and Bmidbar 29:35, "Atzeres t'h'yeh lochem"), but also the seventh day of Pesach is called Atzeres (Dvorim 16:8, "Atzeres laShem Elokecho"). As well, Shovuos is called Atzeres in the words of Chazal as we find in the mishneh Rosh Hashonoh 1:2, b'Atzeres al peiros ho'ilon."

According to the words of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok of Berditchov this is quite understood. He says that the Yom Tov of Shmini Atzeres is so called because there is no specific mitzvoh act, such as eating matzoh, hearing a shofar blast, residing in a sukoh, taking the four species. Rather there is only a restriction from doing work, issur m'lochoh. This restraint is called Atzeres. According to this it is well understood why the seventh day of Pesach is called Atzeres as well. There is no requirement to eat matzoh on this day, although chomeitz is still forbidden. As well there is an issur m'lochoh, so the laws of this day are only restraints, hence the name Atzeres. Similarly, our rabbis might have given the appellation Atzeres to Shovuos for the same reason, as there are no specific positive mitzvos for this holiday, and there are only restraints, issur m'lochoh.

However, we find a difference among the three terms Atzeres as applied to the three Yomim Tovim. The day after Sukos is expressed as "Atzeres t'h'yeh lochem," while the seventh day of Pesach is expressed as "Atzeres laShem Elokecho," while Shovuos is called Atzeres with no appendages.

The differences can be explained with the Targum Yonoson ben Uziel's commentary. On "Atzeres t'h'yeh lochem," Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says, "It shall be a day of assemblage for you to pray to Hashem for rain." We now understand the expression, "t'h'yeh lochem," it shall be for your benefit, as you pray for much needed rain, which is the basis for all physical sustenance. (Note the base word GESHEM in the word GASHMIUS.) On the words "Atzeres laShem Elokecho," mentioned regarding the seventh day of Pesach, Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says, "It shall be a day of assemblage for you to praise Hashem." This refers to the miraculous events that took place on the seventh day of Pesach, the splitting of the sea, etc. Hence the expression "laShem Elokecho" is appropriate. Our Chazal found the expression Atzeres appropriate for Shovuos, the time of the receiving of the Torah, since it is preferable to learn the Torah in an assemblage, as is stated in the gemara Brochos 63b, "Asu kisose kisose v'isku baTorah." (Yorim Moshe)

Please note that we have explained Atzeres as meaning RESTRAINT according to Rabbi Levi Yitzchok of Berditchov and as ASSEMBLAGE according to the Yorim Moshe. Please see the Ibn Ezra on the word Atzeres in Vayikroh 23:36, who says that this word can be translated as either RESTRAINT or ASSEMBLAGE.


The Haftorah for Shmini Atzeres for chutz lo'oretz is the dedication ceremonies at the completion of King Shlomo's building the Beis Hamikdosh. The festivities extended into Sukos and on Shmini Atzeres King Shlomo sent the people home (M'lochim 1:8:66). This last point seems to be the only connection between the subject matter of the Haftorah and Shmini Atzeres. Since all King Shlomo did was to send the people home, what real concept of Shmini Atzeres is being presented? Rabbi Moshe Feinstein zt"l answers that the verse says that King Shlomo sent them home in high spirits. This is the point being made, that the holiday should not come to an abrupt stop when it ends, but rather that the people should take with them the spiritual and emotion high which they reached during the Yom Tov. This is a fulfillment of "Isru chag baavosim" (T'hilim 118:27).

The gemara Shabbos 30a and Mo'eid Koton 9a says on the words of our Haftorah (1:8:66), "Va'yeilchu l'oho'leihem," that the people returned to their homes to find their wives in a state of marital purity, "smeichim," that they rejoiced from having enjoyed feeling the shine of Hashem's presence, "v'tovei leiv", that each wife became pregnant and gave birth to a boy. How is this last point derived? The Shaalos U'tshuvos Beis Efrayim written by Rabbi Efrayim Zalman Margolios of Brod, chelek Orach Chaim in the preface page 4, writes in the name of Rabbi Naftoli ben Rabbi Levi of Brod that this is derived from the words "v'TOVEI leiv" being expressed in the plural form. The gemara Brochos 59b says that upon birth of a son a man makes the blessing "hatov v'ha'meitiv." "Hatov" is for the good which he has received, a new son, and "ha'meitiv" is for the good his wife has received, the same new son. We see that the birth of a son is goodness for both the father and mother, and they are together TOVEI leiv.


The Lvush #669 says that the name Simchas Torah was given to the second day of Shmini Atzeres because it is the day of the completion of the reading of the Torah and we celebrate this with a festive meal and great rejoicing.

The Sfas Emes says that Simchas Torah means "the joy of the Torah." Hopefully the Torah is happy with our fulfillment of its mitzvos.


We sing a prayer before the Amidoh of Mussof of Simchas Torah which begins with the words "Sissu v'simchu b'Simchas Torah."

What is the nuance of difference between the two synonymous words SOSSON and SIMCHOH? Rabbi Zvi Yechezkel Michelson, the Rov of Plonsk and then Warsaw, said in the name of the GR"A that SIMCHOH refers to the happiness that one experiences at the outset of an endeavour which he expects will be successful and bring him much happiness. SOSSON is the happiness that one experiences upon the successful completion of a matter which brings happiness. A proof brought for this is the expression in our prayers (Keil Odone), "Smeichim b'tzeisom v'sossim b'vo'om." They (the celestial bodies) are happy when they go out (from the east) to do their day's work, and rejoice when they come to its completion (when they set in the west). Another proof can be brought from the verse in Iyov 3:22, "Hasmeichim ellei gil yosissu ki yimtz'u kover." According to this, how do we understand the words "Sissu v'simchu b'Simchas Torah?" Are we happy with the completion before we begin? Rabbi Zvi Yechezkel answers that since this prayer is sung after the reading of the Torah, and we have just completed Dvorim and begun Breishis, indeed we are happy with the completion and rejoice with the new beginning.

Indeed, the Sfas Emes says that the greatest joy of Simchas Torah is that although we have gone through a complete cycle of reading the Torah and have fallen short of its proper fulfillment, nevertheless, Hashem gives us another chance to begin anew.

What remains to be answered is the blessing for choson and kalloh, "Asher boro sosson v'simchoh choson v'challoh." Perhaps this refers to the completion of their stage of life as a single person, and embarking upon the next stage of marriage.

There are other explanations as to the difference between SOSSON and SIMCHOH. The Bnei Yisos'chor in drush l'Sukos #22 says that SOSSON is the happiness of anticipation, while SIMCHOH is the rejoicing from that which was actualized. (Seemingly similar to the GR"A)

Another difference is that SOSSON is happiness that is built up bit by bit, while SIMCHOH is sudden happiness, as we find "Smach z'vulun b'tzei'secho" (Dvorim 33:18), which is interpreted as Z'vulun will rejoice when he leaves this world and suddenly receives the reward for the Torah learned by Yisochor, whom he supported.

See the gemara Sukoh 48b which recounts a most mystifying dialogue between two people named SOSSON and SIMCHOH.


Ch. 33, v. 12: "Asher ossoh Moshe l'einei kol Yisroel." - By proof of a cross-reference from our word "L'EINEI" to the term "va'ashabreim L"EINEIchem" (Dvorim 9:17), Rashi says that this refers to Moshe's shattering the tablets which contained the Ten Commandments. Considering all the awesome accomplishments of Moshe that this verse and the previous verse list, why does the Torah deliver as the grand finale Moshe's shattering the tablets? I heard from MVHRH"G Rabbi Yaakov Kamenecki zt"l that although the other matters listed are great accomplishments, they only indicate the greatness of Moshe in regard to furthering the spiritual elevation and enhancement of the bnei Yisroel. However, these acts do not reflect on his own character refinement, as he has habitually become accustomed to "mesiras nefesh" for the betterment of the bnei Yisroel. However, when he was challenged to break the tablets when the situation called for it, embodying in this act a lessening of the bnei Yisroel's spiritual contact with Hashem, the opposite of that for which he had always striven, and successfully did that which was proper to do under the circumstances, this showed the great level of Moshe, to do Hashem's will even when contrary to his whole life's activities, pursuits, and being. There is a similarity between this and the greatest test that Avrohom, the most merciful person, endured when called upon to slaughter his son Yitzchok.




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