Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sukkah & Taharas HaLev - A Question


I spent much of yom tov contemplating a statement in Likutey Eitzos, Moadim - Sukkos, B that states,

"Through the mitzva of sukkah a person merits taharas halev (purity of heart)."

Can anyone explain what Rebbe Nachman of Breslov meant by this? Exactly how does the mitvza of sukkah purify a person's heart?

UPDATE:

Rabbi Micha Golshevsky commented:

The Zohar Hakadosh states that there is no holiness without preparation.

We prepare by learning about the greatness of the mitzvah and begging Hashem to help us feel the holiness and purity of it.
For example, you can feel the purity of the sukkah by thinking about the fact that sukkah imparts purity and yearning to access it. This naturally leads one to beg Hashem for help attaining this.

But the more you learn about and internalize the holiness of the sukkah, the more you will feel how much you can gain through it and the more you will yearn and beg Hashem to allow you to feel the bliss of the sukkah. Of course, the more you yearn and daven the more you will feel it.

Sometimes this takes time, but if you persevere and do what you can, you will "get it." Even if you can't do much, every little bit adds up. Even just a prayer before you enter the sukkah can be very efficacious.

You are already on the right track since you are thinking about what you have learn in context of fulfilling it. If we learn something as a "vort" and not as relating to our personal avodah, it will not effect how we feel all, as discussed at very great length in sifrei mussar / machshavah / chasidus.

Here is one story that I always tell in the sukkah since it inspires me personally to yearn for the holiness of sukkah: On the first night of Sukkos, Rav Moshe of Kobrin zt”l was standing in his sukkah, profoundly moved by the holiness of the day and this special mitzvah.

He said, “The walls of the sukkah appear to be of wood, and the s’chach looks like a bunch of branches. But the truth is that every part of the sukkah embodies holy names of Hashem. Every element of the sukkah has deep kabbalistic meaning! My own Rebbe said: 'With this mitzvah we enter into holiness with our shoes on!' He meant that even the mundane human needs of the simplest Jew are transformed into lofty mitzvos through the sukkah. We eat and drink and sleep, and it is all a mitzvah!”

Hashem should help us internalize the preciousness of the sukah and remember, that even if we are far from feeling this (or had it and lost it,) we can easily access it through a little yearning and prayer. All you need to do is say with as much feeling as you can muster: "Hashem! Please grant me a taste of the sweetness of my holy and pure sukkah!"

4 Comments:

At October 16, 2008 at 7:00:00 AM EDT, Anonymous micha.golshevsky said...

The Zohar Hakadosh states that there is no holiness without preparation.
We prepare by learning about the greatness of the mitzvah and begging Hashem to help us feel the holiness and purity of it.
For example, you can feel the purity of the sukkah by thinking about the fact that Sukkah imparts purity and yearning to access it. This naturally leads one to beg Hashem for help attaining this.
But the more you learn about and internalize the holiness of the sukka, the more you will feel how much you can gain through it and the more you will yearn and beg Hashem to allow you to feel the bliss of the sukkah. Of course, the more you yearn and daven the more you will feel it.
Sometimes this takes time,but if you persevere and do what you can, you will "get it." Even if you can't do much, every little bit adds up. Even just a prayer before you enter the sukkah can be very efficacious.
You are already on the right track since you are thinking about what you have learn in context of fulfilling it.If we learn something as a "vort" and not as relating to our personal avodah, it will not effect how we feel all, as discussed at very great length in sifrei mussar\ machshavah\ chasidus.
Here is one story that I always tell in the sukkah since it inspires me personally to yearn for the holiness of sukkah: On the first night of Sukkos, Rav Moshe of Kobrin zt”l was standing in his sukkah, profoundly moved by the holiness of the day and this special mitzvah.
He said, “The walls of the sukkah appear to be of wood, and the s’chach looks like a bunch of branches. But the truth is that every part of the sukkah embodies holy names of Hashem. Every element of the sukkah has deep kabbalistic meaning! My own Rebbe said: with this mitzvah we enter into holiness with our shoes on! He meant that even the mundane human needs of the simplest Jew are transformed into lofty mitzvos through the sukkah. We eat and drink and sleep, and it is all a mitzvah!”
Hashem should help us internalize the preciousness of the sukah and remember, that even if we are far from feeling this (or had it and lost it,) we can easily access it through a little yearning and prayer. All you need to do is say with as much feeling as you can muster: "Hashem! Please grant me a taste of the sweetness of my holy and pure sukkah!"

 
At October 16, 2008 at 1:40:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kvod HaRav, your words resonate always. You provide chizuk even when there was no apparent lack of same.

I enjoy and look forward to reading your insights wherever I find them.

Moadim l'simcha

HaSefaradi

 
At October 17, 2008 at 11:23:00 AM EDT, Blogger Neil Harris said...

Great post.

There's also an idea I've been thinking about regarding the heart and the mitzvah of the Arba Minim. We know that the esrog symbolizes the heart. We also know that when we make a bracha we need to hold up any fruit in the direction that it grows. The mitzvah of the Arba Minim is that we "take" them in our hands (which fullfills the mitvah on a d'orisa level). When making the bracha "al nitilas lulav" most people hold the esrog pitum side down, b/c if we held it up right while making the bracha we would have, by default, performed the actual mitzvah before reciting the bracha.

I have come to realize that the direction of my heart while performing a mitzvah is everything...as we can't fullfill the mitzvah of the Arba Minim with our ersog (heart) in the wrong direction.

Maybe Reb Nachman's quote applies here as well.

 
At October 17, 2008 at 11:30:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Beautiful thought, Neil.

Interestingly, in Likutey Eitzos, Rebbe Nachman taught another teaching that seems to link the heart to the esrog:

"During the Yomim Noraim it is a good thing when you can weep profusely like a child. Throw aside all your sophistication. Just cry before Hashem; cry for the diseases of the heart, for the pains and sores you feel in your soul. Cry like a child before his father. Then you will be worthy of a beautiful etrog. The more profusely you weep the more beautiful the etrog you will have for Succos."

 

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