Vertluch: Succos 5772


The Yom Tov of Succos is the culmination of the Yomim Noraim. The mitzvah of lulav is a symbol of our victory in din, akin to someone raising their hands high in victory upon leaving a courthouse in triumph.

Rav Nosson Wachtfogel Zt”l, asks, what connection does Succos have to the yom hadin? There seems to be no connection between the fasting and praying of Yom Kippur and the feasting and joyous atmosphere of Succos.   The Lakewood Mashgiach, zt”l, gives a beautiful and inspiring explanation.

There is a Gemara that details the terrible yesurim of Rebbi. The gemara says that the yesurim came because of a specific ‘incident’ and it left because of another specific ‘incident’. What was the ‘incident that the gemara is referring to? The gemara states that one day while Rebbi was walking, a small calf which had run away from the slaughterhouse curled up against his leg and crawled under his coat. It seemed as if it was seeking shelter. Rebbi looked at the little calf and said “go…shew….for this is what you were created for.  You have to be slaughtered.” It was because of this incident that he suffered terribly for the rest of his life. 

However, the gemara asks “the end result for an animal is to be killed” so what was the terrible sin of Rebbi. In essence he was speaking the truth and doing the ‘proper thing?’

The yesod is as follows: even if a person is undeserving of any hospitality, if he arrives at your doorstop and wants to be taken under your wings, you must show rachamim. There’s a different level of accountability once someone is in your domain; you have to treat him properly and respect him. Indeed the little calf was created to get killed, but not withstanding that fact when he came under the coat of Rebbi, he should have been extra sensitive and showed special pity towards it. Since Rebbi neglected to do that, he suffered terribly for the rest of his life. As Succos follows Yom Kippur, it’s always when we have just finished a day of forgiveness, fasting and judgment and we don’t know what our fate will be.  But we quickly jump and enter into a Succah, which is the house of Hashem. Why? What is the connection? Because no matter what our judgment is, when we’re in the house of Hashem, the baal habayis has to show us mercy even if we’re undeserving. And while we are in the Succah, we can rest assured that we will get that extra special mercy!

Every day of the chag while we’re sitting in the Succah, we should remember idea this and know that when we’re in the house of Hashem he will treat us with his special care. On the flip side, we must behave accordingly because we are in his house; the two go hand in hand. With this I hope we all had an easy and meaningful fast and with the help of Hashem this should be the last yom tov in golus and iy”h next year we should all be in Succos Bais Dovid….in Yerushalayim.



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