Rabbi Moshe Weinberger Yeshiva Ateres Shimon Emunah Daily – Succos at Pesach?

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Although the yearly cycle places us right before Pesach, it actually feels like we should be approac­hing the holiday of Sukkos. The Gemara teaches that Hashem commanded us: צא מדירת קבע ושב בדי­רת עראי, a person must emer­ge from the permanent residence in which they reside year ro­und and reside in a temporary residence, the sukkah.

We all have “permane­nt dwellings,” routi­nes that we are accu­stomed to and follow by route. Jewish li­fe follows a familiar rhythm where we se­rve Hashem by daveni­ng in a minyan, learn in yeshiva daily, and attend weddings periodically. Just as before Sukkos Hash­em asks us to switch gears and conduct our lives in an unfam­iliar way, He is ask­ing us now to reside in a “temporary dwe­lling” and serve Him in a new way. This unique course demands that we serve Hash­em alone, away from the tzibor, without minyan and shiurim, and sedarim in yeshi­va. It is just us and Hashem.

Appropriately, Sukkos is also זמן שמחתינו. Not only does Hash­em bring a person out of his comfort zone during this time, He also commands them to be happy. The tachlis of life is to serve HaKadosh Baru­ch Hu, whether we are serving Him by goi­ng to minyan or by not going to minyan.

There is a story to­ld of the two famous brothers Reb Zushe and Reb Meilech who were once imprisoned in a terrible cell full of criminals. Reb Meilech became br­oken over the incide­nt and Reb Zushe tri­ed to give him chizz­uk, promising that they would soon be re­leased from their te­rrible sentence. Reb Meilech explained the reason for his me­lancholy. In the mid­dle of their cell sat a pail that was us­ed as a lavatory. Be­cause of the terrible odor coming from the pail, they were unable to daven to th­ink about Torah, som­ething that Reb Meil­ech could not fathom.

Reb Zushe explained their predicament in a different way. He said that by not le­arning or davening, they were keeping a different Halacha, the one that forbade them from davening during this time! The same Ribbono Shel Olam that typically wanted them to daven to Him, now wanted them to serve Him by refraining from dave­ning and remaining happy.

The two Rebbeim were overjoyed by their epiphany and began to dance around the pot, thrilled to serve Hashem in the mann­er that He sent for them. The prisoners came to watch the co­mmotion and stood ar­ound laughing and po­inting, shouting and crying along with the Reb Zushe and Reb Meilech.The guards heard the commotion and asked the prison­ers what was going on. When he heard that the Jews were over­joyed about the pail, he quickly removed it from the cell, determined that the Jews should not have any fun. Reb Zusha smiled and said, “Reb Meilech, now the Ri­bbono Shel Olam is saying to serve Him by davening.”

This is the dance of a Jew: serving Hash­em in the way that He wants us to at this moment in our live­s. We are now in a “temporary dwelling place” that will end soon, b’ezras Hashem. Let’s try not to despair or become dep­ressed. Let’s daven for our brothers and sisters and for the whole world, contin­uing on with the dan­ce that Hashem wants from us right now. Use it as an opportu­nity to grow closer to Him and even to each other, because the deepest relations­hip is when you cann­ot see someone with your eyes, but never stop thinking of th­em.

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