Excerpts from a lecture by HaRav Eliezer Berland, shlit"a,
delivered in the Old City, Yerushalayim, 12 Tishrei, 5758. 

    The days that intervene between Yom HaKippurim and Sukkos are actual holidays and great chassadim are drawn down during them. The main thing during this time is to draw them down through song and dance. It is impossible to over-emphasize the greatness of song. It is said that the Sages even established two days of Rosh Hashanah because one time the song was impaired. [They used to wait for witnesses to announce the sighting of the new moon, because if witnesses would come, then they would have to sing a special song for Rosh Hashanah instead of the regular weekday song. Once it happened that the witnesses failed to arrive, and so they established that there should be two days of Rosh Hashanah. See Likutei Halachos, Mincha 4:14 and 5:12.] The bringing of all the sacrifices was also accompanied by song. 
    After every holy effort, one must sing and dance so that it should ascend, because it is only through song that one’s serving Hashem ascends to the “World of Ta’amim,” [the level of the melody to which the Torah is recited]. The two days of Rosh Hashanah are the root of repentance, and the main aspect of repentance is for blemishes of the Covenant, which is literally the defilement of the Serpent. Adam and Chava, when they were created, were like two suns. Only the Serpent looked the way that a human being does today. After the sin, they became enclothed in his garments, which is “the skin of the serpent.” 
    Now we have twenty-two days in which to receive the mentalities of the sefiros and return to the way we were before the sin. These mentalities, that is, the Chassadim, are drawn down through Sukkos. Sukkos is Chessed within Chessed, and from Sukkos until the fifth day of Chol Ha’Moed, the “outside encircling” Chassadim are drawn down. After that, on the sixth day of Chol Ha’Moed, they are incorporated into Yesod, and on Hoshanah Rabba, into Malchus
    These days are very holy. Because of the intense holiness, every public space is transformed into a private domain. The public domain is nullified and all spaces are transformed into private domains, just as we see, literally, that it’s impossible to walk around in the streets because there are sukkos everywhere. 
    We also learn the height of the sukkah (Sukkah 5b) from the keruvim that covered the ark, to a height of ten tefachim. We see from this that sukkah is the aspect of the Dvir, the Holy of Holies. When the Temple stood and everyone made the festival pilgrimage, all of Yerushalayim was transformed into an aspect of the Holy of Holies, for it was brimming with sukkos and pilgrims.
    The days of Sukkos are not only so holy [in and of themselves,] but they also influence the halachos of Chanukah (Shabbos 23b). According to Beis Shammai, the lights should diminish with every passing day, just as the number of the cattle that are sacrificed each day during Sukkos diminish. The Chanukah lights are also lit [so that they can be seen] in the public domain, since from the holiness of the days [of Chanukah], all spaces are transformed into the private domain just as it is during Sukkos.
    Rav Meir of Zhidikov says in Imrei Noam that the generation of the Exodus merited receiving the Torah and seeing the Holy One “face to face,” only because they had first been enslaved in Egypt. In order to receive the countenance of the Shechinah, Hashem had to first bring them through such a difficult enslavement. They had to bear enormous boulders and they would fall on their hands and legs. All of them had either crushed limbs, a missing hand, a blinded eye, or some other form of bodily damage. Only those who had gone through this “crushing” were able to draw down the holy souls that would receive the countenance of the Shechinah. As it says, “The more they oppressed them, the more did they proliferate and spread.” The more a person is persecuted spiritually and physically, the more he is able to draw down holy souls.
    The father of the Baal Shem Tov, at the age of eighty, was taken captive among non-Jews and became a servant of a government minister. One time, he saw that the minister was sad and asked for the reason. He was answered that the king was conducting a protracted war with a certain city and could not manage to conquer it, and that the king had delegated the responsibility of formulating a winning strategy to him. The father of the Baal Shem Tov gave the minister a precise plan for conducting the war. When the king saw this plan, he became excited, and when he heard that the father of the Baal Shem Tov had formulated it, the king immediately took him and gave him his own daughter in marriage. Naturally, he had no connection with her, and when she asked him (after ten years) for the reason, he told her that he was a Jew. At that point, she sent him homeward with great honor and, at the age of one hundred, after all the suffering that he’d been through; he fathered the Baal Shem Tov. In order to bring a soul like that to the world, he had to have no desire whatsoever regarding this matter.
    Similarly, it says in all the holy books that the year 5760 is going to be a year of tremendous revelations.  [Chessed L’Avraham, Galei Razia and more.] Whenever a particular year is referred to in the holy books, it also includes the following year, for the world was created on the 25 Elul, therefore the first year of creation only lasted five days. Adam was created on Rosh Hashanah, which was therefore already in the second year. The number of this particular year is equivalent to the minimal measure of a mikveh. [The measure of a mikveh, forty se’ah of water, yields a measure equal to 760 eggs.] So, in (5)760, everyone will have to go through immersion in a mikveh to take part and be fit to draw down souls that will merit to receive the countenance of the Shechinah
    Moshe Rabbeinu had been the most crushed of all; he spent eighty years crying out in the deserts until he achieved the level of being able to go forty days without food or water. Even so, when he ascended to the upper world and saw the soul of Rabbi Akiva, he wanted Hashem to give the Torah through him (Menachot 29b). Hashem answered him, that this was impossible. But there is a problem here. How could Moshe Rabbeinu have asked for such a thing? Wasn’t he, at that moment, ascending to receive the tablets, with the entire nation standing below waiting? How could he have entertained the notion to ask for such a thing? To wait until this soul would be born and go through everything that it would have to go through until it would be fit to receive the Torah? In truth, however, Rav Avraham ben Rav Nachman (Biur Likutim Torah 27) explains that the request was not exactly as it seems. What Moshe Rabbeinu was really asking for was that he should achieve the attainments of Rabbi Akiva, and about that, Hashem answered that it was impossible. Hashem hinted to him that he and Rabbi Akiva were the same root soul, and that he would have to return to earth in the body of Rabbi Akiva to be martyred.  Only then would he merit Rabbi Akiva’s attainments. Because the souls of the ten martyrs are the highest of souls, they are the aspect of “Bereishis,” before the creation. So, to reach Rabbi Akiva’s attainments, Hashem said to Moshe, you have to actually be killed. Because even if you merited to “mouth to mouth I speak to him,” and you receive the countenance of the Shechinah at all times, even so, you still have in you some measure of harsh judgment. ”Moshe” (345) is the numerical equivalent of “KaPaD, KaSA” (184 + 161) which are expansions on the holy names HaVaYaH and EHYeH.  These are still somewhat connected to harsh judgments. To merit the level of Rabbi Akiva, one needs absolute nullification of all one’s feelings, so that there shouldn’t be any judgment at all, and that is why death [as a martyr] is necessary.
    Through singing and dancing during these holy days, we will merit to sweeten all the judgments and to experience the complete redemption, speedily and in our days.
    Regarding the bar–mitzvah [taking place that week], on the day of the bar–mitzvah, a soul of fire descends to the child, (Zohar Chadash, Bereishis page 14,) and, if we were worthy, we will be able to see it. This soul descends and blazes around the bar-mitzvah boy, burning up all of his base desires and the base desires of all those who come to his celebration.
    There were ancient communities like the Yemenite community. During the time of the first Temple, messengers were sent by Shlomo with the Queen of Sheba to their land; they were responsible for the shipment of spices to Israel. The Jarvim dated from the period of the Judges. They have a stone that has the seal of Yoav ben Tzruya on it, who wanted them to return to Israel. They refused, citing a tradition of theirs that there would be further destruction. Ezra, too, wanted to bring them back and again they refused. He cursed them, and they cursed him in return, saying that he would not merit to be buried in Israel. He is actually buried in Damascus. There is also the Kochin community in India, which is very ancient. These communities had certain ancient customs, like the wedding customs discussed in the Gemara, where they would build an actual “wedding house.” 
    The groom and bride would not meet at all. In truth, there is no need for meetings at all. It is enough that the parents decide among themselves. What do they need to check for? To see that she doesn’t have a wooden leg or a glass eye? The Tosafos asks (Ta’anis 4a) how Eliezer could have set up such a test without doing any checking? There isn’t any need for meetings, and certainly not for sitting together hours upon hours. For three days before the wedding, they would prepare the groom and the bride for the great day just as if it was Yom HaKippurim. On the day of the chuppah, they would accompany the groom with liturgical songs and great weeping, and there would be a holy trembling just like on Yom HaKippurim. When they prepare themselves as if it is Yom HaKippurim, then, in truth, that day is even higher than Yom HaKippurim, as the Degel Machane Efraim says (Parshas Bo). In Uman, a groom would approach his wedding with such awe, with trembling and great weeping. Then, of course, everything was done in great holiness, as Rabbi Nachman says, one must feel the [pain of the act, as if one is] suffering [the pain] of the circumcision (Shivchei HaRan 17).

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