Tuesday, October 14, 2014

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The Time of Our Rejoicing

by Reb Aharon Rubin, author of Eye to the Infinite

The Time of Our Rejoicing - זמן שמחתינו

Why is Sukkos called the time of our rejoicing? We go into a hut with barely a roof and live there for a week, we shake four types of vegetation; why the rejoicing? What is the source of our happiness?

In the Western world, happiness is translated in terms of the amount of ‘stuff’ you own. If you can get all you want, you must be happy. You can fly to all four corners of the world, maybe own an island, you’ve got it made.

What a mirage of utter falsehood today’s culture has conjured.

What is the reality?

The reality is, if you’ve ‘got’ God, you’ve got everything. That’s what Yaakov Ovinu meant when he said ‘I’ve got everything’. During Sukkos, we rejoice with that reality.

It’s the reality the Jews enjoyed for forty years in the wilderness. They were provided for, constantly, by God: the Manna, the Water of Miriam’s Well and the Seven Clouds of the Shechinoh-Glory. This is what we enjoy too as we sit in the Sukkah.

It started Erev Yom Kippur, which is when the ‘energies’ of Sukkoth started pouring in.[1] Thus the Ari zal says that the meditations of eating on Erev Yom Kippur are the Kavvanoth of the Mannah.[2]

During Sukkoth, we are surrounded by the Clouds of Shechinoh-Glory.

And the Water of Miriam’s Well? That’s the secret of the Lulav and Esrog. The Gemoro tells us that the four types are specifically connected with water. Since God separated the waters on the second day of creation, forming the higher and the lower waters, the Midrash says that the lower waters cry out – מים תחתונים בכים – We want to be before our King. The ‘libation of waters’ on Sukkos is a rectification of that.

This means, God created [the illusion of] upper and lower revelation, the higher spheres of Godliness, and the lower spheres where the Divine soul cries out to come back to Its Creator. This the secret of the lower spiritual worlds (the Ophanim and Chayos HaKodesh) proclaiming: ברוך כבוד ד' ממקומו

The first letters form the word בכים.

בכים spelt out in full (בי"ת כ"ף יו"ד מ"ם) is gematriah ברית (gematriah ישרא"ל בכי"ם ע"ה). The dividing of the waters, as it were, formed an everlasting covenant. (That is why salt is called in the Torah ברית [מלח] עולם – because the salt is the ‘fire’ element of the water, the element that wants to reach back upwards.)

On Sukkos we take the four types that are connected with water. (They are also gematriah ד' - ברוך כבוד ד' ממקומו) We stretch them out to all the six extremities of the world and bring them back to our heart. We are stretching out to God (Who sealed the world with these six extremities). He is saying, I am here with you (- where God is, there are no limits; that is the centre of the sphere).

That is the source of our rejoicing.

This is why there was such rejoicing during the ceremony of the Water Libations. It is the completing of a circle, unifying the lower with the upper.

[1] שער הכוונות

[2] Ibid.


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