On Sukkot We Reach the Pinnacle of Joy

20 09 2010

Sukkot – Service of the Heart
Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rabbi Hershel Reichman

Sukkot- Service of the Heart

In Shir Hashirim, King Shlomo movingly depicts Hashem’s profound love for the Jewish people. “B’tzilo chimaditi v’yashavti…. I have desired his shade and I have dwelt there, his fruits are sweet to my palate.” Midrashicly, this refers to the mitzvot of sukka and lulav, which are our central medium of connection to Hashem on Sukkot.  Why did Hashem need to give us two mitzvot, why was one not adequate?

The Shem MiShmuel explains that man is a dual combination of mind and heart. This is reflected in the ten sefirot, which are expressed on intellectual and emotional levels. Moshe, the paragon of intellect, and Aharon, the embodiment of emotion, were the founding fathers of the Jewish nation. Moshe’s role was primarily moach – intellect, bringing Torah to Jewry, Aharon’s purpose was lev­ – emotion, achieving harmony between man and Hashem. His prayers and service in the mishkan were the focal point of Yom Kippur. Additionally, he pursued peace and mended troubled relationships between people.

The Torah emphasizes, “Hu Aharon U’Moshe,” the role of Aharon was equal to Moshe’s. The Shem MiShmuel notes that perfection of intellect is intertwined with perfection of emotion. Both are needed to attain sheleimut. Indeed, when we examine the lives of our Torah giants we see this combination of wisdom of mind and heart.

The Gemara writes that the mitzva of sukkah serves as a remembrance to the Clouds of Glory, which were given in the merit of Aharon. The sukkah signifies the life and essence of Aharon. Aharon personified peace, fulfillment, humility, and total subservience to Hashem. This is the sukkah – modesty, harmony and completion. The lulav represents the teachings of Moshe. It is a straight line that corresponds to the direct intellectual logic of Torah. Both mitzvot help us tap into the dual essence of the holiday.

Rosh Hashana is the head of the year. It signifies a new beginning and corresponds to the soul of Moshe, who personified intellect. It is a day to think about our past deeds, make a personal reckoning, and plan for the future. Yom Kippur is lev – emotion. It symbolizes Aharon Hakohein. The Torah writes, “B’zot yavo Aharon el hakodesh.” It links Aharon specifically with the service in the Mishkan. Rav Soloveitchik notes that the essence of Yom Kippur is not so much the avodah of the kohein gadol but the avodah of Aharon who was the paragon of ahavat Hashem and ahavat Yisrael.

On Rosh Hashana we rededicate our intellect to Hashem. On Yom Kippur we reignite our souls to ahavat Hashem. All this culminates with Sukkot. Then we reach the pinnacle of joy and completion as we celebrate the melding of intellectual, emotional, and spiritual purification.

Elul: The Shofar’s Wake Up Call

12 08 2010

In this Torah shiur (class) on the month of Elul, Rabbi Beinish Ginsburg connects the message of the blowing of the shofar, which is done every day of the month, to the essence of the month of Elul.  This Torah class is available online in streaming video and for download in mp3 and ipod video formats.

In the Shade of Emunah: Chassidic Perspectives on the Holiday of Sukkot

1 10 2009

A brand new class is now available at Naaleh.com!

In the Shade of Emunah: Chassidic Perspectives on the Holiday of Sukkot

Taught by Rabbi Hershel Reichman, this class delves into the Chassidic understanding of the holiday of Sukkot. Based on essays from the Shem MiShmuel, this class focuses on the spiritual characteristics of Sukkot and its accompanying mitzvot. The first class in the series is now available:

Sukkot: Service of the Mind and Heart

In this shiur (Torah class) Rabbi Hershel Reichman discusses the Chassidic understanding of the essence of Sukkot. Based on the Shem MiShmuel, Rabbi Reichman delves into explaining how one can best serve G-d with both mind and soul. This Torah class is available online in streaming video and for download in mp3 and ipod video formats at http://www.naaleh.com.

Raving Reviews for Rebbetzin Heller’s Class ‘Elul, Rosh Hashana, and Yom Kippur for Children’

23 09 2009

Students at Naaleh.com are loving Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller’s newest class series:

Bringing Torah to Life: Deepening our Children’s Jewish Experience

The first class in this series entitled, Elul, Rosh Hashana, and Yom Kippur for Children, is helping parents prepare their children for the Yamim Noraim, High Holidays, in a very meaningful way.

One student writes in:

‘This shiur was FABULOUS!  I especially liked and used her advice about teenagers and all of her specific examples of how to relate to different aged children for Elul. Fabulous and immediately useful. Thank you. I hope you do this again for Pesach.’

Check out the class and make this year’s Holidays meaningful for the entire family!

Just in Time for Rosh Hashana: ‘Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur Davening: Open the Gates!’

25 08 2009

Rabbi Michael Taubes is teaching a wonderful course just in time for Rosh Hashana, “Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur Davening: Open the Gates!“.

Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are days of repentance, introspection, and self-definition. They are also days of tefillah, prayer. A close look at the Tefillot of the Yamim Noraim reveals that these tefillot were designed to help us increase our awareness of Hashem, acceptance of His Malchut, and recognition of Din, as well as properly complete the teshuva process. This course goes through the Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur Machzorim, explaining their structure, the logical sequence of the prayers, and the meaning and symbolism of key tefillot.

Here is a sampling of the first installment of this course, “Themes of Rosh Hashana”:

To view the entire class click here: Themes of Rosh Hashana