Simchas Bais Hashoeva
Great Simche of the lower waters:
Torah & Mitzvos freed from the Klipos!
How much thanks do we owe to Hashem that we are able to share the 3rd new mamar of this new year, a mamar that touches the tip of the iceberg, discussing the great Mitzvah of Chag Hasukkos.
One of the very special aspects of the Yom Tov of Sukkos is the “Simchas Bais Hashoeva”. The Gemara in Sukkah describes in detail the juggling and acrobatic skills displayed by the greatest Talmudic sages, who all year round were engrossed in the depths of Torah. Even the greatest personality the Nassie Rabbon Shimon ben Gamliel was dancing with up to 8 lit torches being juggled up and down, none of them touching each other.
During the long festivities no one got tired as Reb Yhoshua ben Chananya said: “When we were participating in the Simchas Bais Hashoeva”, we didn’t feel any sleep in our eyes”.
The Mishna claims: “Anyone who has not seen Simchas Bais Hashoeva has never seen a real Simcha… There wasn’t a courtyard in Yerushalyim that was not lit from the light of the Bais Hashoeva. This as the Sforim explain, is not only referring to the physical light, but also to the eternal spiritual light that filled every household in Yerushalyim. Up to this day Jews all over the world, especially in Yerushalyim, celebrate every night of Chol Hamoed the Simchas Bais Hashoeva, dancing into the late hours of the night.
The Mishna explains the reason for this great event. During the year, anyone bringing a Korbon – sacrifice, would also bring wine to pour on the Mizbayach which is called “Nisuch Hayayin”, but on Sukkos there was also a water pouring “Nisuch Hamayim”. That is the reason for the great Simcha based on the possuk in the Navi Yeshaya (12:3): “Ushavtem mayim bsason mimaynai hayeshua”.
Appeasing the cry of the lower waters
As we know all physical events are only outside dressings that hide something much deeper and valuable. So In this mamar we are trying to deal with the obvious question: What was this great Simcha all about? We need to understand what was so special about this Mitzva of “Nisuch Hamayim” that such public elaborate displays of simcha accompanied it.
We learn from the Medrash that the Nisuch Hamayim is to appease the lower waters on earth. This is based on the possuk (Breishis 1:7): “And God made the heaven and he separated between the waters that were beneath the heaven and the waters that were above the heaven”.
The Midrash and the Zohar say, that at the time of Creation the lower waters were crying: Why are we so far away from Hashem, we also, like the higher waters, want to be close to Hashem. Rashi in Parshas Vayikra (2:13) explains, Hashem promised the lower waters that they would be poured on the Mizbayach on Sukkos. So this is the reason for the great happiness of “Simchas Bais Hashoeva”, to share the happiness of the waters that were finally poured on the Mizbayach before Hashem.
But Chaveirim we still need to dig deeper, in order to quench our thirst trying to understand the crying of the lower waters:
1. why were the lower waters crying and complaining: “We also want to be close to Hashem”, didn’t they know that the presence of Hashem is all over the world on heaven and on earth, like the great Malochim say in their chant (Yeshaya 6:3): “Kadosh, Kadosh Kadosh Hashem Tzvakos melo chol haarets kevodo” – Hashems presence and divine influence fills the entire world.
2. If this is how Hashem created the world, dividing the upper waters from the lower waters, how dare the lower waters complain and not accept God’s will.
3. Why did Hashem find a Tikun for the waters remaining on earth by pouring them on the Mizbayach only on Sukkos.
In this Mamar we are suggesting a new Chidush based on the Tiferes Shloma, who explains the possuk in Parshas Reai (Devarim 16:13) defining the meaning of chag hasukes: “Chag hasukkos taase lecho shivas yomim beosfecha migarnecha Umiyikvecha” – “You shall make the festival of Sukkos for a seven-day period, when you gather in from your grain-floor and from your winery”. The Gemora explains that the possuk refers to the Schach on the roof of the Sukke which is combined of: “Psoles goren veyekev” – rubbish wastes of grains and winery.
The Tiferes Shlomo explains the meaning of this, based on the Ariz”l who teaches us, that if a person is a baal aveiro and a rosho, all his good deeds and Torah learning, fall into the trap of the “Klipos” – evil forces, who are just gaining koach by stealing from the Kedushe. But by doing Teshuva we are able to free all the Torah and Mitzvahs and bring them back to the Kedushe.
Sukkos, the Tiferes Shlomo says, is a time that we can harvest and free these Torah and Mitzvos from being held by evil forces! Therefore the Torah says by Esrog and Lulav: “Ulkachtem lachem”, which the Gemara teaches “Mishelachem”, from your own. Here is our chance to recapture our own Torah and Mitzvos.
This dear friends, is in my opinion, the mystical meaning of the lower waters crying: “We also want to be close to Hashem”. The Gemara says that Torah is compared to water: “Ein mayim elo torah”.
The waters that are above the heaven symbolize the Torah and Mitzvos, that were able to soar up to Hashem without any troubles, but the lower waters under the sky symbolize the Torah and Mitzvos that were captured by the evil forces “Klipos”. They are stuck beyond the sky and cannot get to their destiny, and therefore they are crying out: “We also want to be close to Hashem”, and not being in the hands of the “Klipos”.
But as we learned from the Tiferes Shlomo, Sukkos is the time that we can free these Torah and Mitzvos from their captivity and bring them back to the Kedushe. Therefore on Sukkos we are pouring water on the Mizbayach, to cleanser the Torah and Mitzvos that were freed from those evil forces, and this is the reason for the tremendous outburst of “Simchas Bais Hashoeva”, to express our great happiness of all the Torah and Mitzvohs that were freed and brought back to the Kedushe.
How uplifting is it to find the beautiful connection to this marvelous idea, by explaining the reason for “Simchas Torah”, which is right after the seven days of Sukkos, when we dance the seven “Hakofes” with the Torah, and are called to say the broche for the reading of the Torah. This is to express our happiness and thanks to Hashem for freeing the captured Torah and Mitzvos.
We still need to explain why is it done only on Sukkes? But let’s leave something for the mamar that you will have more than enough time to learn on Chol Hamoed.
I want to sign off by wishing you all a Simchas Yom tov. By the way please don’t forget to be mekayem what the possuk says (Devarim 16:14): “Vesomachto bechagacho” – “You shall rejoice on your festival, you, your son, your daughter”…
The Gemara (Psachim 109:1) says that you must make happy every member of the family according to his or her needs. How do we make the women happy? The Gemara says by buying them colored clothing. If I may add: We also need to make Hashem happy who brings us constant happiness, by bringing and presenting him all the Torah and Mitzvous that were freed during Sukkes!
~ For the full Mamar in Lashon Hakodesh, see the weekly “Hamachne Hachareidi”. ~