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  KD MAGAZINE!      ב"ה                    
 
 
  SUKKOS 2  
 

19 Tishrei 5769

A Life's Work

By Rabbi Asher Brander
SUKKOS 2 - A LIFE'S WORK - BY RABBI ASHER BRANDER Sukkos possesses an exceptional korban pattern with regard to its special mussaf [additional] offerings. A simple shalosh regalim chart illustrates this point[1]:

 

Sacrifices

Pesach

Shavuos

Sukkos

Lambs

7 [days] x 7 = 49

1 [day] x 7 = 7

7 days x 14 = 98

Rams

7 [days] x 2 = 14

1 [day] x 2 = 2

7 [days] x 2 = 14

Bulls

7 [days] x 1 = 7

1 [day] x 1 = 1

7 [days]:13+12+11+10+9+8+7 = 70

Total

70

10

182

Average [per day]

10

10

26

Generally, visible patterns emerge among the mussaf offerings. For example,

a.       The 7-2-1 lamb-ram-bull combination found on Pesach and Shavuos is also brought on Rosh Chodesh

b.          A slightly different 7-1-1 lamb ram bull combination repeats on Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Shemini Atzeres

c.              The Shabbos offering [2 lambs] seems to be connected to the weekday offerings [2 lambs]

For now, let us simply note that Sukkos appears exceptional in three ways:

a.   It doubles the daily lamb quotient

b.  Its pattern for bulls is unique [reducing one each day]

c.   One brings a massive amount of sacrifices

A lot of  Torah has been said to explain these exceptions: An intriguing Rashi (touches the bulls) and tackles the lamb issue [Bamidbar, 28:19]:

Their meal-offerings and their libations for the bulls- There were seventy festival bulls, representing the seventy nations, which were progressively diminishing .. And the lambs.. Representing Israel, which is called "the dispersed lamb." Their numbers are constant, and they total ninety eight, to nullify the ninety eight curses in Mishneh Torah[2] [Deuternomy].

Our tradition teaches that the rebuke section in Ki Tavo possesses 98 curses. Somehow the totality of the 98 Sukkot lambs are to overcome these curses. This same notion appears in a not very famous piyut [poem] that is said by some on Sukkot[3]:

Rashi's Midrash begs the obvious questions:

a.       Other than the number similarity, how are these notions connected?

b.      Why is this a Sukkos thing [as opposed to any other holiday] ?

A simple and penetrating Shem Mishmuel to the rescue: The key to it all? A famous verse tucked away in the aforementioned rebuke [Devarim, 28:45-47]:

All these curses shall come upon you and will chase you and reach you until you are destroyed; for you have not obeyed Ad-noy, your G-d, to guard His commandments .. because you did not serve Ad-noy, your G-d, with joy and goodheartedness, from your bounty.

What shall shield you from these curses? Simcha! This is a remarkable statement which raises obvious questions[4]. Is there even a general simcha obligation in the Torah? Second, do people who have simcha never suffer?  

Our Sukkos connection however, is now sharp - for Sukkos is the time of our content, the  zeman simchaseinu. Simcha - the word, appears more in the Sukkos context than any other Holiday. Quite naturally, on Sukkos, chag ha'asif, we reap the fruits of our labor and experience joy.

But there is more here. Sukkos is not merely tapping into natural joy; it is about working at it. Indeed, on Sukkos, we make simcha the centerpiece of our avodah [Temple service]. Beyond the fourteen daily lambs, symbolic of that Jewish joy imperative, consider the simchas beis hashoeva festivities associated with the nisuch hamayim [the water libation], an event that was Talmudically dubbed the greatest simcha known to man.

From Sukkos we move to Shemini Atzeres, a holiday whose sole imperative is "Be happy!" [v'hayita ach sameach] . Small wonder that the Jewish people chose to attach  Simchas Torah to Shemini Atzeres - for in Torah study one experiences the greatest Jewish joy.

Do you know someone who has not experienced sadness? He is the other guy; not you, nor I. The Sukkos experience teaches us that we must tap into the bracha we have in our lives and then pass it forward. Achieving this mindset is an avodah - a difficult and challenging task for those who live in this world.

One who has an excuse to wallow in sadness or seek the refuge of self pity and does not, has indeed scaled the great mountainous avodah of Simcha. Sherri Mandell, [a woman who experienced the vicious murder of her 14 year old son Kobi and then created Camp Kobi - an unbelievable institution of giveback and chessed.] one of the great exemplars of this midah, speaks movingly about her sadness and her struggles. One remarkable insight she teaches is that for one who experiences the absolute depths, the heights become higher.

From Simchas Torah, we re-enter "normal" life, - charged by the notion that with its great work,  joy can be found where you let it in.

Chag Sameach!

Asher Brander


[1] This chart omits the one seir [goat] that is standard to all mussaf offerings

[2] Cf. Midrash Agadah [Buber] Bamidbar 28

[3] The Yotzer of 2nd day Shacharis. The poet draws a beautiful parallel between eileh divrei habris [Devarim, 28:69 - end of the tochacha] and eileh  t'aasu laHashem b'moadeichem [Bamidbar, 29:39 - end of Mussaf sacrifices section]:

 תשורת שי אלפים שבעים, שלמתי בזה רגל עלי אום שבעים, רציתי שייםשמונה ותשעים, קלוע בם תוכחות שמונה ותשעים,    צרפתי אלה באלה באסיף ..

[4] For an expansion on this theme, cf Reflections, Ki Tavo, 5768 Be Happy

 Chag Sameach!

Asher Brander

(Slightly revised from last year)


[1] Amos, 9:11

[2] Cf. Malbim who explicates the verse to be referring to three stages of rebuilding. The house of david is the kingdom and the sukkah of david refers to the nesi'im who had more influence than power. Thus it shall be  at the end of days that the line will start as nesi'im and eventually progress towards kingship. See also R. Hutner, Ma'amarei Pachad Yitzchak and Maharal Netzach Yisrael.

[3] Perhaps this is why it is called a sukkah of David and not a bayis - for the latter implies greater materialism

 
 

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