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What is Sukkot?



Four Kinds


Thoughts & Essays


   Part 1

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Letters From the Rebbe


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 Part 2 Letters From the Rebbe

He's Fine The Way He Is

When Rabbi Shneur Zalman, the founder of Chabad Chasidism, began to disseminate his teachings, many young men were drawn to him and became his Chasidim, despite the general opposition in those days to Chasidism. In addition to the mind-expanding scholarship, the joy in serving G-d that was injected into Judaism by the teachings of Chasidism attracted many adherents. Among the novice Chasidim were two sons of one of the leading Torah scholars of the time.

One day, the two sons approached Rabbi Shneur Zalman with a matter that had been concerning them for some time: should they try to win over their father to the Chasidic approach of imbuing everything with joy or is he perhaps too set in his ways to change at this point in his life.

"Does he perform mitzvot joyously?" asked Rabbi Shneur Zalman.

In response, one of the sons related, "Each year, when we finish building our suka, our father climbs up and kisses the branches covering the suka."

"In that case," said Rabbi Shneur Zalman, "he is fine the way he is."

The Definition Of Suffering

Even when rain was pouring down, Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk would sit in the suka. He related once, "The reason a person is absolved from sitting in the suka in the rain is because of the law that one who is suffering is not obligated to sit in a suka; the discomfort caused by the rain has the legal status of 'suffering.'

"The truth is," sighed Rabbi Menachem Mendel, "a Jew who 'suffers' from sitting in the suka does not deserve to sit in the suka..."

I'd Rather be a Simpleton

Rabbi Fishel of Strikov would sit in the suka even in the pouring rain. Once he was asked: "Doesn't the Code of Jewish Law clearly state that, 'If it rains, one should go back into the house'? And doesn't a commentary on the Code add that, 'Whoever is absolved from sitting in the suka and does not leave it, receives no reward for this and is nothing but a simpleton'?"

"I'd rather be a simpleton than leave the suka," said Rabbi Fishel.

 Part 2 Letters From the Rebbe

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