Excerpts from a lesson given by HaRav Eliezer Berland shlit”a on Sukkos, 5758.
    In the story of the Prince of Gems, they took all the sorcerers and threw them into the water. On Sukkos, all the sorcery falls into the water, which is the aspect of the “springs of salvation” that open on Sukkos—“And you will draw water in joy from the springs of salvation,” (Yeshayahu 12.)
    We learn about the height of the sukka from the kruvim that covered over the top of the ark. The Megale Amukos says that the kruvim parallel the eyes. Thus, just as the high priest drew down holiness from the kruvim, so too, all holiness is drawn down through guarding one’s eyes. When a person walks around with closed eyes in the street, he draws down such holiness, such G–dliness to the street, that burns up all the Other Side. Yosef HaTzaddik, by virtue of having guarded his eyes for thirteen years, sanctified all the space in the world. It was possible then to eat sanctified foods during the time of the Tabernacle at Shilo (Zevachim 12b, Shilo was in the inheritance of the tribe of Yosef,) in all the “ro’eh” (“sight”), that is, within seeing distance of Shilo—even if one stood as far away as Mount Hermon. (Parenthetically, it says in the Zohar in connection to Mount Hermon, “The dew of Hermon that falls onto the mountains of Tzion.” This is perplexing! If it falls on the Hermon, how could it fall on the mountains of Tzion? But the Zohar says that the dew of life falls on the mountains of Tzion, and from there it spreads to the Hermon.) In Likutei Moharan I:65 Rabbi Nachman explains the verse, “And I commanded the youths not to touch you,” that the “youths” are the eyes; that one must command the eyes and close them very tight. And this connects very well with the explanation of the Megale Amukos (229) that Ruth asked Boaz to explain the mystery of the kruvim. There are two types of kruvim: the ones that cover over the top of the ark, and the ones that the Holy One stood at the entrance to the Garden of Eden with the flashing revolving sword. And this was what Moshe Rabbeinu was asking for—“Let me pass over,” to reach the entrance of the Garden of Eden and remove the kruvim and the flashing revolving sword from there, which would have brought the redemption.
    The entrance to the Garden of Eden is the Cave of the Patriarchs, and that is where the flashing revolving sword is. This is why one must repent before travelling to the holy Patriarchs so that nothing unpleasant should occur along the way…. The height of the sukka is learned from the kruvim that cover over the top of the ark, the holiness of the sukka is literally the sanctity of the Holy of Holies. Just as all of Yerushalayim was filled with sukkos, so too, was all of Yerushalayim transformed into an aspect of the Holy of Holies.
    Regarding the Chassadim that are drawn down during the festival, for twenty–two days we are busy building up the upright structure of “Rachel”. On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, we “saw away” the Keter of Rachel, and afterwards the Chochmah and Binah, and, on the eve of Yom HaKippurim, we build the final three sefiros of Hod, Yesod, and Malchus, and then she is returned to be “face–to–face”. At that point, she is transformed into a small point and afterward grows up on Yom HaKippurim until Keter. Then the inner Chassadim are drawn down, until Sukkos, when Chessed within Chessed enters and makes contact with the “outside encircling” Chessed within Chessed. There are five “outside encircling” Chassadim, and all of them are incorporated into Malchus on Hoshanna Rabba; then is the time of unity between Knesses Yisroel and her beloved. This aspect is literally manifest—everyone has his “Chava.” Adam HaRishon and Chava were created as a dual being connected at their back, and they had to be “sawed away” from one another so that they could reconnect face to face. Inasmuch as a man is busy serving Hashem during these days, so does he merit to find his “Chava” (that is, his match and marital harmony)….
    This rectification that Adam HaRishon was supposed to have effected on the day during which he had been created, we now do during the twenty–two days. Therefore, in truth, that which Rabbi Nachman said, that the rectification is already accomplished on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, must certainly be so on Rosh Hashanah itself, the very day of Adam HaRishon’s creation. Everything should already have been complete and rectified. This is why Rabbi Nachman said that if someone didn’t make it to him for the eve of Rosh Hashanah, it would be preferable that he not come at all, because it is then that all the rectifications are effected.
    The Lev Simcha explains the Gemara (Sukka 53a) that says that Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel would juggle eight torches in his hands on Simchas Beis HaShueva, as alluding to lowly and base souls like ours, that the tzaddik elevates them until “the world to come,” the world of Binah. The torches were made from the worn–out trousers of the Kohanim, the lowest type of item, which alludes to the lowly souls like ours. The tzaddik throws them up, to the aspect of “eight” [alluded to by the number of torches], which is the World to Come [Binah is the eighth sefira from the bottom of the array]. A person receives awesome inspiration and ascends higher and higher during these twenty–two days between Rosh Hashanah and Sukkos [without the burden of home or children—whether it is in Uman, or the whole nights of dancing on Sukkos]. Just after the festival, he returns and falls back exactly to the place that he was before—again the burdens of home, and that it is so difficult to make it to kollel… Every time a person experiences any type of spiritual fall, and afterward he merits to come out of it, he sees how it all came about Providentially, so that he should see his own lowliness and humility. He should see that he is an aspect of the “worn–out trousers of the Kohanim”, an aspect of the “chaff of the silo and the wine–press…” Also, through this, he can awaken others, encourage them, and raise them up because, in truth, the only way to raise up others is to have gone through all the falls that they’ve gone through. This is similar to what Reb Nosson writes in Likutei Halachos on Rosh Hashanah 1, that only someone who is obligated in a matter can fulfill someone else’s obligation in that matter. Therefore, the true tzaddik who must raise everyone up has to go through all the types of falls of all the people in the world (of course, in a more subtle way).
    The Gemara speaks about Chanoch, that he was a sewer of shoes who made spiritual unifications with every stitch. He would show Hashem’s Divinity through everything in the world, (Sefer Pirkei Hechalot,) and, during the three hundred and sixty–five years of his life, he brought the entire world to repentance after his grandfather, Enosh, had corrupted them. After Chanoch’s death, Enosh lived another five hundred–or–so years, and corrupted them again, because the souls of the Jewish people who have the power to withstand all spiritual falls had not yet come into the world.
    It says in the book Sefer Hayashar that Chanoch would seclude himself from others and would only go out to speak with them once a week. Afterwards, it was once a month, and later, once a year. His words were like blazing fire, such that the entire world waited for him to come out of seclusion. Later, he came out only once in ten years, until the time that Hashem took him. He gathered everyone together and ascended in a stormwind to Heaven in front of everybody, and was transformed into the angel MeTaT.
    Through prayer we re–create the angel MeTaT every day anew. Therefore, one must be very careful not to skip a single word from the prayer, and every word must be said slowly and with concentration. And if, Heaven forbid, a person swallows the words and skips, he has created a demon…he has created a kind of angel without hands or feet, and then his body hurts him and he experiences all kinds of suffering, because that crippled angel that he created pursues him. Rav Pinchas of Koritz said that the letters of the prayer are chambers that are very far from one another, which is why it is so very difficult to pray. Because, really, a person is very far from true prayer…. Therefore, there is no need to look forward to any other experience of vitality than to just say the words slowly, even in a dry way, until eventually he will slowly warm up and feel more enthusiastic. (Therefore, someone who comes in the middle of the prayer has already lost out on so much, because the rest of the minyan started an hour earlier and has already managed to warm up. By the time the group gets to Baruch She’amar, they already can say it with some vitality and enthusiasm, and he has lost out on this.) The Komarner blasts those who think that a person can just immediately begin to pray with vitality and enthusiasm. He writes that there is no such thing in the world at all, and no tzaddik ever worked that way…. The Komarner says that a person who looks for an experience of vitality abandons prayer when that experience doesn’t arrive. This is heresy, for he doesn’t believe that Hashem hears every word that emanates from his mouth even when the words are completely dry. His praying with simple concentration is what draws down salvation. Rabbi Nachman (Likutei Moharan I:48) said that the sukka is the concept of praying forcefully. Still and all, a person does possess some small point of spiritual vitality, and it needs to be coaxed with all one’s power during prayer. Even if, sometime, a person moves in a strange way while trying to do so, this is permitted. This is what Rabbi Nachman says, (Likutei Moharan II:4), how much a person has to work until he merits to move properly in prayer. Therefore, one must pray forcefully with the little bit of vitality that he has and, through this, he makes thunder, and his heart hears the words of the prayer (Likutei Moharan I:5).
    The Baal HaTanya wrote in the Tanya a warning, that anyone who does not pray forcefully must be removed from the group. So too, any Baal Tefilla who doesn’t pray [Shacharis] for at least an hour–and–a–half. Who would dare to challenge the Tanya, and who could dare to challenge the Likutei Moharan that speaks so much about forceful, focused prayer? Today we say “Who among the forces is like You, Hashem?” But there is an even higher verse that we will say in the future, “All my bones will say, Hashem, who is like You?” Sometimes a person gets inspired in one limb of his body but, in truth, the inspiration and enthusiasm must be in all the limbs….  If a person doesn’t pray the morning prayers slowly and meaningfully for several hours, all the Torah that he later learns is just lip service. This is how it was with Achitofel, who was like an angel of the L–rd, “When one wanted to seek of the advice of the L–rd, so too was the advice of Achitofel…” But all of his Torah learning was lip service. So too, Doeg the Edomite (Sanhedrin 106b). Torah study like this, may the Merciful One save us, is powerless to sweeten a single judgement or heavenly decree, as is self–evident.
    During the era of Rav Chayim Vital, Eliyahu the Prophet revealed himself to Yosef HaMa’aravi (Hechal HaBracha 5:209) who lived then in Tzfat and told him, “Know that there is a decree of destruction that has been issued on the Jewish people.” Rav Yosef HaMa’aravi was amazed and asked, “But they learn Torah! Why doesn’t their Torah study mitigate the decree?” (This was after the Ari’s lifetime, and there had been a flourishing of yeshivos.) Eliyahu the Prophet answered, “Everyone is learning Torah for ulterior motives. Know that the Accuser came before the Heavenly Court and spread out before it all of everyone’s Torah study and he said, ‘Find me one letter that was said for the sake of Heaven, and I am prepared to abandon my argument.’ They could not find a single letter that was said for the sake of Heaven! And know further,” said Eliyahu the Prophet, “that the angel Michael was silent.” Rav Yosef HaMa’aravi asked, “What about Avraham Avinu? Why isn’t he mitigating the decree?” Eliyahu the Prophet said, “When Avraham Avinu heard this, that all that Torah was not for the sake of Heaven, he was plain embarrassed to appear before the Court…” Rav Yosef HaMa’aravi immediately sent a messenger to Rav Chayim Vital in Damascus, that he should tell over his vision and arouse the people to repent, and that he, Rav Yosef, would arouse the people of Tzfat to repent. It was then the Ten Days of Repentance, and the nation was greatly aroused to repent with a full heart until all the letters were taken out of the Accuser’s hands. By Hoshanna Rabba, all the harsh decrees that had been issued against the Jewish people had been mitigated.
    Similarly, we have until Hoshana Rabba to mitigate that which was decreed on Rosh Hashanah (because, in truth, all the decrees for the entire year are revealed to the Tzaddik on Rosh Hashanah). This is accomplished through focused prayer and dancing, and in the merit of this may we merit the complete redemption, speedily and in our days.

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