This page presents insights by Rabbi Tuvia Bolton on the weekly Torah portion.
The latest article is posted here once a week. You can search the archive for past articles.
About two hundred years ago in a certain village in Poland there lived a Rebbe with several hundred Chassidim that was very careful in the Mitzva of Succa. The Succa he had built for himself every year was a sight to see The walls were of the thickest and best wood and were decorated with the most expensive ornaments. Even the greenery that he used for S’chach was thick and fresh.
Now it so happened that one year everyone in the village decided that they too could afford to build beautiful Succas like their Rebbe, but they weren’t so good at building.
What did they do? About twenty of the Chassidim, the ones that knew how to work with their hands, joined together to be the ‘Succa-builders’ and they set to work going from house to house building new Succas for everyone.
Needless to say, they had to work day and night non-stop and made a lot of money that year building Succas. But, just a few hours before the holiday, as they finished the last Succa, they realized that they had been so busy working for everyone else that they had forgotten about themselves! They had no Succas!
What could they do? There wasn’t enough time for each one to go home and build his own Succa, so they decided that they had no other choice than to take all the scraps and leftover wood and build one big Succa near the outskirts of the town for everyone.
They finished building their large rickety edifice with just enough time left for everyone to run to the Mikva, wash up and run home to change clothes before sunset.
One and a half hours later, all the workers were sitting in the Shul looking radiant, holy and very happy like everyone else, engrossed in loud enthusiastic prayer.
The prayers finished, they sang and danced together, shook hands and wished one another ‘Good Yom Tov’. Someone opened the huge doors for everyone to leave and suddenly… it began to rain.
For the first few minutes it looked like it wouldn’t last long, but then it got stronger and louder and louder. The strong wind and rain made it hard to even close the Shul doors again, and the sound the torrential rain and things smashing in the street, made it seem like it would never stop. But after a half an hour the rain ceased. The Shul doors opened again and the Chassidim began to joyously leave the Shul into the muddy streets; finally they would be able to go home to their Succas and eat the Holiday meal! But they were in for a surprise.
All the Succas had been destroyed in the storm!
In a few minutes everyone was standing again in the street in front of their houses not knowing what to do.
Then someone got an idea "Let’s go to the Rebbe! He is a Holy man, for sure his Succa is still standing!" "Good Idea!" They all shouted in unison and they set out for their Rebbe’s home. But as they approached they heard from afar the cries from his backyard; "OOOY MY SUCCA!! My BEAUTIFUL SUCCA!!!! OOOOOOY!!"
It seems that the Rebbe’s Succa was even more destroyed than everyone else’s; the walls had been completely shattered and one had even been lifted into a tree.
Then from far away they heard singing! It was coming from the direction of the worker’s Succa. Immediately the children ran in the direction of the music and in minutes they returned breathless with the good news, "The Worker’s Succa is …. standing!!" "Nu, Kinderlach" said the Rebbe to the gathered crowd "Get your food we are going to eat in a Succa after all!"
The entire night the congregation took turns crowding into the worker’s Succa, two or three families at a time ten minutes for each shift, eating their Holiday meals.
So they did for the next three meals, one the next morning and two the day until they were able to rebuild their Succas. (Note the Holiday of Succot is seven days but the first two days are the Holiest and work is forbidden).
The next day there were about one hundred Chassidim in the Rebbe’s house with the same question "Why was everyone else’s Succa destroyed except for the Succa of the workers?"
At first the Rebbe tried to answer that maybe the winds were weaker on the outskirts of town. But that didn’t work because trees were actually uprooted there.
Then he said that maybe it was because theirs was stronger one than everyone else’s. But that also wasn’t so because their Succa was built so hastily that the whole thing shook when anyone just pushed it.
So the Rebbe thought for a minute and then a smile broke on his face. "I know!" He declared, "I know why their Succa remained standing! Because our Succas were built each person for his own self and his own family. But when they built their Succa it was with unity, each built for everyone else…
And when there is unity between Jews, all the storms and the hurricanes in the world can’t break it!"
That is why Succos is so connected with the Moshiach
(See the HafTorah of the first day) One of the main jobs of Moshiach is to unite all the Jews and thereby "Raise the fallen Succa of King David (the Moshiach)"
May this Succos all the Jews see how G-d is protecting us just as He was when He took us out of Mitzriam with the Clouds of Splendor. And may we rejoice with great Miracles...
With the arrival of Moshiach NOW!!
Copyright © 1999-2018 Rabbi Tuvia Bolton. All rights reserved. No unauthorized reproduction or copying of this material shall occur without prior permission.