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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 891
                           Copyright (c) 2005
                 Lubavitch Youth Organization - L.Y.O.
                              Brooklyn, NY
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   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
        October 14, 2005        Ha'Azinu        11 Tishrei, 5766

                    The Transient & the Transcendent

What is all of that fiberglass, canvas, pine 4 x 8s, and wood veneer
paneling doing in backyards and on porches or decks these days? (Not to
mention the more creative configurations made of egg cartons and coke

Why, they're sukkot, of course - those temporary booths that Jews around
the world assemble each year as temporary dwellings for the festival of

But why do we celebrate the festival of Sukkot? The simple answer is
that it commemorates the 40 years the Jews spent wandering in the
wilderness living in temporary dwellings.

Another reason, which explains why Sukkot occurs in the fall, is that
during the harvest season, the workers would live in booths out in the
field, so as to maximize each day's reaping and harvesting. As the days
grew shorter, time became more urgent.

A third reason, which harmonizes the previous two, is that the sukka
represents the fragile, temporary nature of our life in this world. We
too often have a false sense of security, a belief that our buildings
and institutions will protect us from forces and furies of nature. But
our strongest edifices of iron and steel are like sticks and straws in a
hurricane.    Our only trust, our only shelter, our only protection, is
G-d Himself.

And this leads to a fourth reason why we celebrate Sukkot, but a reason
very different than the first three. What makes a sukka a sukka is the
roof (also of temporary items such as branches and leaves). And this is
said to represent the Clouds of Glory that protected the Jews in their
wanderings. The sukka, at this level, represents the Divine Presence
that eternally hovers over the Jewish people.

And this, in turn, leads to a fifth reason, one proposed by Jewish
mysticism. The sukka indicates the transcendent, all-encompassing aspect
of G-dliness. This all-encompassing transcendence can be elicited
because the sukka ultimately unites the Jewish people. All gathered
within it become a unified, a single entity.

When in history have the Jewish people been unified and when will they
be unified again, this time forever? In the times of the Holy Temple.
And so we find that in the Grace after Meals during Sukkot we add this
prayer: "May the Merciful One restore for us the fallen sukka of David"
- meaning, of course, the Holy Temple, the rebuilding of which will
occur through Moshiach, in the final Redemption.

Thus we have reasons that signify transience and reasons that reveal
transcendence. So which is it? Does Sukkot represent the transient
nature of life or reveal the transcendent nature of G-d and oneness? Of
course, the answer is both, that these two aspects of Sukkot do not
contradict, but rather complement and complete each other. For the
ultimate purpose of creation is the unification of the transient and the
transcendent, the revelation of G-dliness in this world, the
transformation of the temporary and physical into a permanent dwelling
place for the spiritual.

Which explains why the Holy Temple is also called a sukka, for with the
coming of Moshiach, and the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, the ultimate
sukka, that purpose will be fulfilled, and the transient, temporary
world will become a transcendent, permanent edifice - a true dwelling
and House of the L-rd.

The festival of Sukkot, which follows Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, marks
the beginning of the true days of rejoicing of the month of Tishrei,
coming as it does after the solemnity of the High Holidays. Although
Sukkot has many similarities and characteristics in common with Rosh
Hashana and Yom Kippur, it is actually the culmination and fulfillment
of the first two holidays. The difference between the two lies in the
fact that the holiness that was in a more concealed and hidden state on
Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur is revealed for all to see on "the day of
our rejoicing (Sukkot)."

One of the fundamental themes of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur is that of
the unity of the Jewish People. But it is on Sukkot that this motif
finds its highest expression.

The Jew's worship on the High Holidays lies in his uncovering of the
"pintele Yid" within him, that Jewish spark that can never be
extinguished, that he shares in common with every other Jew. All of us
stand as equals before G-d in prayer on Rosh Hashana, accepting His
sovereignty and crowning Him King over us all; on Yom Kippur we are
equally aroused to do teshuva (repent) and return to G-d. When a Jew
does teshuva, he is merely uncovering and revealing his innate belief in
G-d and love of Him.

The unity of the Jewish People during the High Holidays is a unity based
on the common denominator inherent in every Jew. It does not take into
consideration the many differences of temperament, intelligence, or any
other marks which distinguish one person from another.

On Sukkot, however, we reach an even higher level of unity than before,
developing the theme of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur further.

One of the most important mitzvot of Sukkot is the taking of the Four
Kinds. These four species symbolize the four different types of people
which exist within the Jewish nation. The etrog (citron) symbolizes one
who possesses Torah learning and also does good deeds; the lulav (palm)
stands for one who possesses only Torah learning. The hadas (myrtle)
symbolizes one who performs commandments and does good deeds, but does
not have Torah learning, and the arava (willow) symbolizes the Jew who
possesses neither Torah nor learning.

On Sukkot we take these four disparate species and bring them together
to perform a mitzva. Our unity does not lie in our ignoring the external
differences which divide us; rather, we go out of our way to include all
types of Jews, even those in the category of arava, who would seem to
have no positive contribution to make. Despite all our differences we
are all bound together.

This is the highest degree of unity we can achieve. It is far easier to
concentrate only on that which we have in common than to acknowledge
that we differ as individuals and still remain together.

On Sukkot we verify and confirm the unity which was achieved during the
High Holidays. This realization sustains us throughout the year and
gives us the strength to live in harmony and solidarity with one

                   Adapted from the works of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                     Sukkot - A Tabernacles Holiday
                           by Rabbi Eli Hecht

    (Ed.'s note: Rabbi Eli Hecht, director of Chabad of the South Bay,
    California, is a fourth generation American. As a child he lived for
    a short while with his grandparents in the Williamsburg neighborhood
    of Brooklyn, New York, which in the 1950s was populated mainly  by
    Hungarian Jewish refugees, survivors of the Holocaust.)

When the holiday of Sukkot arrived the streets of Williamsburg would
bustle. Children of all ages would run around selling branches from a
weeping willow tree, known also as "hoshanas." These hoshanas were
joined together with a palm branch (lulav), citron (etrog), myrtle
(hadas) and a willow (arava) for Sukkot and a blessing was recited upon

When the Jewish nation was liberated from Egyptian slavery they dwelled
in tents and temporary huts, called "sukkas." Today, Jews the world over
commemorate this historic event by erecting little huts, covering them
with branches or bamboo poles. The sukka reminds us that we rely on G-d
for protection, for the sukka is no fortress, not even providing a solid
roof over our heads. Not everyone could have a sukkas so the people in
need would build a community sukka. People from all religious
persuasions, Chasidim and non-Chasidic Jews were seen eating in the
sukka. To this day I can remember walking down the street called Lee
Avenue. I would admire the many sukkas built. Some were on the roof,
others in the courtyard and others on sidewalks in front of stores. But
the most famous ones were those that were built on fire escapes that
would protrude on the outside of the old buildings. The sukkas were
simple four feet by four feet and five foot high, just enough for one
person to go in and say a prayer.

Things would get really interesting when the Fire Department inspector
came by and demanded that the sukkas be removed as it was a fire hazard.
I remember one incident when the fire chief got really angry and gave
the tenant ten days to remove the sukka or go to jail. That was fine as
the holiday was only for eight days. After that the Jews in Williamsburg
would begin building their sukkas only one day before the holiday giving
them a window of only one day to remove it and celebrate the holiday.

The holiday was exciting. We would sing and dance in the sukka.
Sometimes angry neighbors would throw fruit down from an upper storey
and it would land right into the soup. So were the challenges of the

Sharing a sukka also meant finding out how other Jews lived and
celebrated the holiday. Upa (grandfather) had his sukka built on the
roof of the tenant below us. The neighbor who lived above us needed a
sukka so he would come down and eat his meal in Upa's sukka. He belonged
to a real American family. Our Upa belonged to an old fashioned Chasidic
family. With this in mind you can imagine how Upa looked at the
neighbors' eating habits. They came into the sukka and put a big red
bottle of ketchup on the table. Upa nearly had a fit. Imagine, putting
down "Americana" food on his holiday table! He felt that things like
ketchup and mustard was from the hot dog stand mentality and not for a
Jewish boy to see. How much hurt he had when he saw food like beer, hot
dogs and potato chips being put down on his sukka table.

The songs were so different as the Americans sang soft Yankee Doodle
Dandy tunes while the Hungarian Chasidim sang in a frenzy, clapping and
dancing. Upa never said a word to them as it is a mitzva to share and
share he did. It was only after they left he would warn me not to follow
in their ways.

One thing Upa and Uma did like was to decorate the sukka. They would
hang up fruit from Israel, even an etrog that wasn't used or a
pomegranate. Little chains of paper made from the arts and crafts store
were hung as braided chains throughout the sukka. As children we had
loads of fun playing games to see who could make the longest paper
chain. When the sukka was decorated Upa looked like a king as he entered
it wearing his streimel, a Chasidic fur hat, and tish beckesher, a
special silk or satin fancy housecoat worn only on Shabbat and Yom Tov.
When he came into the sukka he would be in the happiest mood. Towards
the end of the holiday the fun would begin. We would be sitting down in
the sukka and some of the fruit began to fall on our heads. Soon the
chains fell apart and the colored pictures would begin to run. It always
rained during the festival of Sukkot and then the fruit, the chains, and
the pictures would fall down. One year Upa told that the sukka was holy
enough without our decorations and that was the end of that.

                               WHAT'S NEW
                             Public Sukkas

The Lubavitch Youth Organization provides public sukkot in three key
locations in New York City for those who work in or visit Manhattan: The
International Sukka at the U.N. - First Ave. and 43rd St.; the Garment
Center Sukka in Greeley Square across from Macy's; The Wall Street Area
Sukka in Battery Park - at State St. and Battery Pl. These sukkot will
be open during the intermediary days of the holiday from 10:00 a.m.
until sunset. For more information call (718) 778-6000. To find out
about public sukkot in your area call your local Chabad-Lubavitch

                             New Emissaries

The Canadian side of Niagra Falls is the location of a new Chabad Center
serving the local Jewish community as well as tourists. The Chabad
Center, directed by Rabbi Shneur Zalman and Perla Zaltzman, opened in
time for the High Holidays. In Quebec, Canada, Rabbi Sholom and Chana
Raizel Davidsohn have moved to Dollard-des-Ormeaux (D.D.O.) to serve as
youth directors at the Chabad House and organize other programs for the
local Jewish community. Rabbi Shmuly and Dini Gutnick will be arriving
soon in in Boca Raton, Florida, where they will serve as youth
directors, at the Chabad House there.

                              Please Note

This issue of L'Chaim is for 11/18 Tishrei, 5766 Oct. 14/21, 2005. The
next issue (#892) is for 25 Tishrei /Oct. 28, the Torah portion of

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                        18th of Elul, 5738-1978
      Excerpts from a free translation of a letter from the Rebbe

...It has often been pointed out that man's mission in life includes
also "elevating" the environment in which he lives, in accordance with
the Divine intent in the entire Creation and in all its particulars, by
infusing holiness and G-dliness into all the aspects of the physical
world within his reach - in the so-called "Four Kingdoms" - domeim,
tzome'ach, chai and medaber (inorganic matter, vegetable, animal, and

Significantly, this finds expression in the special mitzvot which are
connected with the beginning of the year, by way of introduction to the
entire year - in the festivals of the month of Tishrei:

The mitzva of the sukka, the Jew's house of dwelling during the seven
days of Sukkot, where the walls of the Sukka represent the "inorganic

The mitzva of the "four kinds" - etrog, lulav, myrtle and willow - which
come from the "vegetable kingdom";

The mitzva of shofar on Rosh Hashana, the shofar being a horn of an

And all of these things (by virtue of being Divine commandments,
mitzvot) are elevated through the medaber, the "speaking" (human) being
- the person carrying out the said (and all other) mitzvot, whereby he
elevates also himself and mankind - Both in the realm of doing as well
as that of not doing - the latter is represented in the mitzva of the
fast on the Holy Day, the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.

Thus, through infusing holiness into all four kingdoms of the physical
world and making them into "vessels" (and instruments) of G-dliness in
carrying out G-d's command - a Jew elevates them to their true

It also follows that just as in regard to his personal perfection, which
is expected to rise in harmony with his rising state, so also in regard
to the four kingdoms he is expected (and given the ability) to raise,
from time to time, the state of perfection to which he elevates them (as
explained above) - both quantitatively and qualitatively - in the manner
of doing the mitzvot (where there can be grades of performance, such as
acceptable post facto; good to begin with; according to unanimous
opinion; with hiddur, etc.) and their inner content.

Taking into account the assurance that G-d does not require of a human
being anything beyond his capacity, it is certain that, notwithstanding
the fact that only a few days remain until the conclusion of the year,
everyone, man or woman, can achieve utmost perfection in all the
aforesaid endeavors, according to the expression of our Sages of blessed
memory - "by one 'turn,' in one instant," since the person so resolved
receives aid from G-d, the absolute Ein Sof (Infinite), for Whom there
are no limitations.

May G-d grant that the efforts to achieve utmost perfection in the
outgoing year and the good resolutions to achieve perfection in all the
abovementioned matters each day of the coming year, should bring down
upon everyone G-d's blessings in all needs, material and spiritual, also
in complete measure - "Out of His full, open, holy, and ample Hand."

And - very soon indeed - the complete blessing given to all the Jewish
people and to each individual, "And (G-d's) Sukka - the Holy Temple -
will be in Shalem" - the city complete with goodness and holiness,
Jerusalem, at the true and complete Redemption through our Righteous

                            RAMBAM THIS WEEK
17 Tishrei, 5766 - October 20, 2005

Prohibition 320: It is forbidden to work on Shabbat

This mitzva is based on the verse (Ex. 20:10) "You shall not do any
manner of work." On Shabbat, we do not concern nor involve ourselves in
our weekday work and occupations. The Torah defines 39 forbidden
activities which are called "melacha" - work - and which may not done on
the Shabbat. Using those rules as a base, our Sages have taught us a
code of laws instructing us how to keep Shabbat. We are not allowed to
do any of those activities which the Torah considers to be melacha on

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
We stand at the beginning of the "season of our Rejoicing" - commencing
with the festival of Sukkot and culminating with the holidays of Shemini
Atzeret and Simchat Torah (this year Monday evening, October 17 through
Wednesday evening October 26).

Chasidic philosophy explains that what a Jew accomplishes on Yom Kippur
through tears, repentance and remorse, he can accomplish on Simchat
Torah through joy.

How is this possible?

On Simchat Torah we, so to speak, take the "high road."  We travel on
the more direct route toward connecting with G-d.

Through dancing with the Torah, expressing joy and happiness for being
Jewish, we automatically transcend this mundane world and relate to G-d
on a truly spiritual level.

In the repentance of Yom Kippur, we feel remorse for our transgressions
which occurred in this physical world.  Dancing, celebrating,
joyousness, however, are a totally different level.

We are celebrating our love of G-d, not something related to this world.
This higher level we reach can accomplish more than repentance.

In the merit of our repentance and our joy, may we see the "return" of
the Alm-ghty to Jerusalem as we say in our daily prayers:  May our eyes
behold Your return to Tzion in mercy.

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT

Although a sukka is only a temporary dwelling, in certain respects we
treat it as if it were our regular home - eating, drinking, and studying
in it. This is how we should treat the world world at large. We should
not regard the world as an end unto itself, but rather as a means of
furthering our spiritual development and refinement; by properly
utilizing the physical world, we bring G-dliness into our surroundings,
transforming the temporary into something lasting and eternal.

                                            (The Lubavitcher Rebbe)

                                *  *  *

                        Pilgrimage to Jerusalem

One of the miracles which occurred when the Jews made their required
pilgrimage to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem on the three major holidays -
Sukkot, Passover and Shavuot - was that although when they stood
shoulder to shoulder inside the Temple it was so overcrowded one could
barely move, when they prostrated themselves on the ground before G-d
there was plenty of room for everyone. The revelation of G-dliness was
not only apparent when they bowed down, however. The Jews' standing
together in complete unity and harmony was unparalleled anywhere else,
yet when it came time for each individual to prostrate himself and serve
G-d in his own unique way, there was plenty of room for each person's

                                                (Lubavitcher Rebbe)

                                *  *  *

                             Simchat Torah

On Simchat Torah, all the advocating angels rush to the defense of the
Jewish people and berate the Satan. "How can you accuse such a wonderful
nation of any wrongdoing!" they cry. "Just look at them - men, women and
children, going to their synagogues to rejoice with the holy Torah!"
Hour after hour the angels describe the joyful dancing and the love even
the smallest Jewish children show for the Torah as they kiss the scrolls
with their tiny mouths, until the Satan slinks away in shame...

                                (Rabbi Shalom Dov Ber of Lubavitch)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
It was in a forest just outside of Dobromysl that Yitzchak Shaul found
his young friend, Baruch. Baruch had gone there to think about the
differences between the two schools of thought he had encountered, the
path of the Chasidim to which he was attracted, and the path of those
who opposed Chasidism.

Yitzchak Shaul, who was Baruch's mentor in the ways of Chasidism, sensed
that his friend's thoughts were tinged with sadness. "Baruch," he began,
"we followers of the Baal Shem Tov do not believe in being associated
with sadness. We believe rather in gladness. We avoid any sadness as we
would something forbidden. People here in Dobromysl are not joyful as
were the people in Harki from where I come."

"For instance, the people of Dobromysl," continued Yitzchak Shaul,
"don't know how to rejoice on the holidays. I was here for Sukkot, the
'Time of Our Rejoicing,' yet I felt like a fish out of water. On Shemini
Atzeret I almost got myself into trouble. I thought I would bring some
life into the celebration and so, gathering a couple of young people to
join me, I began to sing and dance. Some of the scholars present were
deeply shocked and suggested that my behavior was disrespectful to the
honor of the Torah. There was quite a lot of discussion before they
decided that for ordinary working people, such a way of celebrating was
permissible. Then it came to hakafot (encircling the lecturn while
holding the Torah scrolls), and I volunteered to sing some songs that
had not been heard in Dobromysl before.

A discussion arose as to whether or not it was fitting, especially as it
was accompanied by dancing and clapping. The Rav (rabbi) and the Dayan
(judge) had a long talk before they decided that the singing could be
permitted, but that the people must not clap in the usual way."

Baruch was now exceedingly interested and listened eagerly as Yitzchak
Shaul continued: "When I first began to sing, people looked on with no
special enthusiasm, but when it came to the second and third hakafa,
more and more joined in the singing. Later, ever so many congregants
were singing with me, for as you know, song has the ability to stir
people and arouse them to the heights of enthusiasm. In no time the men
were all holding hands and dancing and singing as they went around in an
ever-growing circle.

"All of a sudden the Rav interrupted in a rush of fright, saying they
must all stop immediately. Their behavior might be disrespectful to the
Torah. The celebrants stopped uncertainly, but then the Dayan stepped
forward and said he was sure it was all right. After all, the dancers
and singers were not Torah-scholars, but simple workers and no
disrespect was implied.

"The scholars shook their heads in disapproval at the thought of such
unseemly behavior taking place in their Study Hall, which had never
before witnessed such a scene! They themselves were completely
unaffected and unmoved by the singing and the dancing. The working
people, however, were thrilled and stirred. One could see they were
positively uplifted by it all!"

Now, Yitzchak Shaul had a friend in the congregation, a musician named
Chaim Shimon. In his opinion, the scholars' sole wish was to show their
superiority to the "ignorant" workers. He decided to pay them back. When
the beadle of the synagogue was about to call out the name of those to
participate in the seventh hakafot, Chaim Shimon whispered in his ear,
"This time don't call out any particular name; just call out, 'This is
the hakafa for the scholars who are modest.'" The beadle looked up in
surprise, and seeing that the person addressing him was no one
important, refused his strange request.

Chaim Shimon asked the sexton to make the request of the shamash
(beadle). Whether he thought such a joke was permissible on Simchat
Torah, or whether he simply didn't understand the real intention, he did
as he had been asked. When the scholars heard this unprecedented
announcement they showed no surprise. The first to step forward was the
Rav, followed by the Dayan. Next came Rabbi Shimon and Rabbi Nachum "the

Chaim Shimon whispered to Yitzchak Shaul, "You see how 'modest' they
are, and there is more yet to come!"

With a completely innocent expression on his face, Chaim Shimon went up
to Nachum the Ascetic and said, "Now I see that you are the fourth
modest person amongst the scholars, since you were the fourth to step

"What do you mean?" he protested. "If the names of the modest people in
this congregation were called out in order of their modesty, I should be
the first to be called, since when it comes to modesty, I have no equal

Rabbi Shimon looked on disapprovingly. Later he told Chaim Shimon, "When
the announcement was made, I was the first to step out, but just then
someone blocked my path."

Yitzchak Shaul finished telling his story. Baruch felt on the border of
two divergent approaches to Torah; he was looking into both but belonged
as yet to neither. Ultimately, Baruch became a follower of the Baal Shem
Tov. Years later, his son, Rabbi Shneur Zalman, founded Chabad

          From the Memoirs of the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi
                                         Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
One can appreciate that the nature of the Jewish people's service during
Simchat Torah and its extension throughout the year is one that is
permeated with the ideal of Redemption and Moshiach. This means, that
the manner in which a Jew conducts his daily activities, even as we
stand in exile immediately before the Redemption, is a sampling of and
analogous to the way of life and conduct that will occur in the actual
Messianic Age.

                   (The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Simchat Torah 5752-1991)

               END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 891 - Ha'Azinu 5766

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