Sukkos: Moshiach’s Holiday



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    Sukkos: Moshiach’s Holiday

    250 years ago, in the Ukrainian town of Braditchev all the Jews were worried; it was just 12 hours before the holiday of Succot and they still had no Etrog (a certain citrus fruit used in one of the Commandments of the holiday). They all gathered in the large Shul (Synagogue) say Psalms to and pray to the Almighty that he have mercy on them, and send them a miracle Etrog… Read the rest of this article by Rabbi Tuvia Bolton • Full Article

    By Rabbi Tuvia Bolton

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    250 years ago in the Ukrainian town of Braditchev all the Jews were worried; it was just 12 hours before the holiday of Succot and they still had no Etrog (a certain citrus fruit used in one of the Commandments of the holiday).

    They all gathered in the large Shul (Synagogue) say Psalms to and pray to the Almighty that he have mercy on them, and send them a miracle Etrog.

    After several hours of prayer a uniformed man, apparently  someone’s servant, entered the large Synagogue door and asked for directions to the hotel. He explained that his master, a devoutly religious and very wealthy Jew, was waiting in his carriage parked outside, and wanted to rest for a while before continuing the last leg of a long journey home.

    Rabbi Levi Yitzchak, the holy Rabbi of Braditchev, realizing this could be the miracle they were praying for, hurried outside to the carriage to personally invite the visitor to his home.

    Minutes later they were sitting in the Rabbi’s study.

    “Ahh yes, I have certainly heard of you Rabbi,” Said the rich man “and it is a true honor and privilege to be in your home. I am so grateful to HaShem for this opportunity.”

    “That is a beautiful silver case you have there,” said the Rabbi, pointing to the silver box that his guest was holding tightly, “Surely it must house a splendid Etrog. May I see it?” The Rabbi took the case and opened it. “Ahh, exquisite!”

    The Rabbi slowly closed the lid of the silver Etrog box, and looked the visitor squarely in the eyes. “You know you look like a very unique man, a man of principle and extreme kindness Mr. Goldblatt, that is the name engraved on your silver etrog box, so  it must be your name. Correct?)”.

    “Yes, correct. Thank you, Rabbi,” Said the obviously flattered Goldblatt “And I plan to give a fine donation to your wonderful community. Now, please, if you will excuse me for just half an hour. I would like to just lay down for a while, as I’m very tired from the road, and I have a six-hour drive ahead of me. Can you provide me with a place?”.

    “Yes, of course” he replied. “But that is exactly what I want to talk to you about. You see…. we need your Etrog here in Braditchev”.

    “My Esrog?” gasped the incredulous guest, “Why…it cost me Five hundred Rubles! And that’s not including the time and bother. No no, Rabbi, please understand and forgive me, but I cannot. This Esrog is the entire reason that I made this arduous five-day journey, and my family and friends are all waiting. No, it’s simply out of the question. Excuse me, Rabbi, please forgive me, but I will be forced to leave now and forgo my rest, I am sorry, I cannot part with my Etrog”.

    But the Rebbe was not to be discouraged.

    “Mr. Goldblatt, how would you like to share some of my place with me in the world to come after you die?”.

    Suddenly Goldblatt’s mind snapped to attention as he sat back down in his chair. Goldblatt was no fool, he knew a good deal when he heard it, and he knew a serious deal when he heard it, and this was probably the best and most serious deal he ever heard in his life.

    The words made his mind spin. “A guaranteed place in the world to come!”

    Goldblatt was a believer, an observant Jew; he knew very well what the Rabbi meant. And who could describe the infinite bliss of Heaven! Especially such a Heaven as that of Rav Levi Yitzchak!!!

    “Of course I would” he answered looking all the while into the Rabbi’s holy eyes. “But is such a thing possible?”

    “If you will agree to stay here for the holiday with your Etrog, then it’s yours” answered the Rabbi “I’ll put it in writing.”

    Without hesitating he answered, “In writing? Yes, I agree!”

    Rabbi Levi Yitzchak called to ten of his pupils, took out a quill and a piece of parchment from a drawer in his desk, wrote out the deed of sale, had the pupils sign, and ceremoniously gave the document into Goldblatt’s trembling hands.

    “Travel on without me!” Said Goldblatt to his servant who had been standing behind him. “Tell my wife and family that I’m fine, and I’ll return and explain everything after the holiday. I’m in Braditchev for the holiday and just made the deal of my life”.

    That night, the Shul was in an unusually joyous mood; not only it was the Holiday of Succot, the Holiday of Joy, but G-d miraculously sent them an Etrog and a special guest; the generous Mr. Goldblatt!

    After the exuberant prayers replete with song and dancing, the entire congregation, filed by the new guest on their way out, to express their gratitude, and wish him a joyous holiday.

    But after receiving hundreds of smiling handshakes, he was left with a big smile on his face, alone in the huge Shul.

    “Hmm” He thought to himself, “They forgot to invite me to eat. I’ll just sit here until they realize their mistake”.

    After fifteen minutes of waiting, he decided that he would go outside and have a look around. Maybe someone would see him. But no one was to be seen. They were all sitting in their Succot, enjoying their Holiday meals. Melodies and laughter echoed in the cold, empty streets.

    He couldn’t just wait there, so he walked to the first house he saw with a Mezuza on the door, went around to the backyard and knocked on the door of the Succah.

    “Ahhh, Mr. Goldblatt, what an honor! What! No one invited you to eat? How can that be? For sure someone must be waiting for you. Go to the home of the Shul President, he will tell you where to go.

    But when he got to the house of the President no one was home; probably they were eating by someone else.

    Over an hour had passed since the end of the prayers. People were already coming out of their Succot, and taking strolls to settle their meals. Goldblatt was getting desperate, and hungry.

    “Good Yom Tov Mr. Goldblatt!” One of the strollers yelled in his direction. “Good Yom Tov” he answered waving, and trying to force a smile. “Can you tell me where is the Succah of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak?” he said.

    Ten minutes later he was knocking at the door of the Rabbi’s Succah.

    “Ahhh, Good Yom Tov Mr. Goldblatt! I was wondering where you were. Probably you want to eat the Yom Tov meal. I have a full meal set for you.

    “Just follow me, it’s right here in my house”.

    “In your house?!” asked Goldblatt incredulously. “I want to sit in a Succah like all the other Jews. I want to eat my meal in a Succah – not in a house!”

    “Ahhh…you want to do the Mitzva (commandment)?” Said the Rabbi. “Why didn’t you say so? That’s wonderful. So step rignt into my Succa. Just, first of all, give me back the document”.

    “What!?” Cried Goldblatt, “The document?! My Olom HaBa!? (World to come). No way! I’m not giving up my place in Heaven. Just to sit in a booth with some leaves on it! That’s crazy! What do I need the Succah for? I have your promise! I’ll get heaven whether I do the Mitzva or not, right? Especially because you are preventing me from doing it, for sure I have nothing to worry about. No problem. I’ll eat in the house!”

    “Good” said Rabbi Levi as he took his guest by the arm and led him through the door to the lavishly set table in his home, poured him a cup of wine, opened the prayer book to the “Kiddush” blessing saying “Wise choice! Nothing beats going to heaven. And you are right! We made an agreement! You have the paper to prove it.”

    Goldblatt took the cup in his hand and began to say the blessing, and then he stopped.

    He stood like that for over a minute, deep in thought “All the Jews  to heaven for sure! Who cares about a Succah! But on the other hand it’s a Mitzva ….. it comes from Gd.”

    He put down the cup, wiped off his hand, and from his coat pocket pulled out the deed that the Rabbi had written earlier for him. “Here” he said proudly. “Now let me eat in your Succah”.

    “Certainly!” Said Rabbi Levi Yitzchak, and he escorted him back outside.

    This time, however, Goldblatt felt like a different man. He was no longer Goldblatt the shrewd businessman; he was now Goldblatt the Jew.

    Rav Levi Yitzchak moved the meal from the house into the Succah, while Goldblatt just sat there in the Succah, looking up at the leaves and branches of the ceiling.

    Never ever in his life had he been so sure of himself; he doing the Commandment of G-d and NOTHING was going to stop him or bribe him out of it!

    He filled the wine cup made Kiddush, then washed his hands for bread ate a few bites closed his eyes, rocking back and forth in his seat, and began singing a happy song.

    The next thing he knew, he and the Rebbe were dancing. Spinning and singing in the Succah,….like JEWS! Finally, when they were out of breath and could dance no more, he looked at the beaming Rebbe and said;

    “Thank you, Rebbe, thank you! You have given me a new soul!

    Who cares about Heaven! Now I am really alive! For the first time in my life I am feeling what it means to do a Commandment”

    The Rebbe succeeded in putting G-d, heaven and his guest into the Succah.

    This is why the Holiday of Succos is especially connected to Moshiach, perhaps more than any other holiday, because the Succah both encompasses and permeates us totally with the feeling of faith, joy, and peace of mind.

    And that is exactly what Mashiach will do; both FILL the world with the knowledge of G-d and SPREAD over us “Succat Shlomeh-chaw”, HaShem’s Succa of Peace.

    It depends on us to make it happen even one moment sooner and not much is missing. We are standing on the merits of thousands of years of Jewish prayers, service and suffering. Now it could be that just one more good deed, word or even thought can bring…….

    Moshiach NOW!

    Rabbi Tuvia Bolton
    Yeshiva Ohr Tmimim
    Kfar Chabad, Israel

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