Thursday, October 18, 2012

346 - Ha'azinu - Sukkos

Moshe begins his address of Ha'azinu with the following words,  "May My Torah drip like the rain" (Devarim 32, 2). Rav Wolbe quotes his Rebbi, Rav Yeruchom Levovitz zt"l, who explains the pasuk's comparison of Torah to rain. Rain merely dampens the soil and creates a properly fertile ground for the seeds planted there. However, the actual growth of the plant stems from inside the seed itself. So too, although the Torah prepares and cultivates a person for spiritual growth, nevertheless, the major portion of the growth must originate from inside the person himself.  
In a similar vein, Rabbeinu Yonah writes (Sha'arei Teshuva Chap. 2, 26) "If a person does not arouse himself, what will mussar help?" Rav Wolbe elaborates (Alei Shur vol. II pg. 415) that it is possible to listen to many mussar discourses and to read through many mussar seforim and gain nearly nothing. A person has to arouse himself by properly digesting what he has heard or read.
We might make a similar observation regarding Sukkos. It is a Yom Tov which has the ability to be one of the most spiritually uplifting times of the year - if we allow it to be. We sit in a makeshift "clouds of glory" surrounded by Hashem's Divine protection, and we rejoice in the recent forgiveness achieved on Yom Kippur. Sukkos and the rest of the Yomim Tovim of Tishrei climax in Simchas Torah, a day specifically designated as a spiritual rendezvous between Hashem and Klal Yisroel. Chazal tell us that Hashem so to speak says, "Your parting is difficult for Me! Please set aside one more day to take leave of me." The opportunity for spiritual growth that Sukkos affords us is immense. However, we must sufficiently arouse ourselves in order to carry its inspiration with us during the coming months.
Take a few minutes, before or during Sukkos, to delve into the beauty of this most remarkable Yom Tov (Sefer Hatoda'ah and Rav Shimshon Pinkus are two great options). Rejoice in the mitzvah of Sukkah, the arba minim, the simchas Beis Ha'shoavah and taste the sweetness of being close to Hashem! 
Chag Kasher V'Sameiach!

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