Sukkot – Shmini Atseres! “Inside the Heavens”

Chazal teach us that after 7 days of Sukkos, before departing back home, Hashem
requests from us to spend just one more day with Him. As during the entire Sukkos
we have been busy bringing sacrifices for all the 70 nations of the world, so they
can have sustenance for the upcoming year. As when the world’s nations have
economic hardship, they immediately blame the Jews for it, as it’s proven through
history. Therefore, we first start Sukkos by assuring their financial wellbeing.
Chazal added, that if the nations understood the importance of the Beth
Hamikdash for themselves, they would’ve never destroyed it, in contrary they
would’ve placed guards in front of it to safeguard it.
The question is, why is this done specifically on the Festival of Sukkos and not
during any other Festival? Also, does it make sense that we spend the entire
Festival worrying about the wellbeing of the 70 nations, and once the work is
completed, we leave the Beth Hamikdash without praying and make any offering
for our own wellbeing? If the Gates of Heaven are open and the 70 nations can be
awarded financial success for the upcoming year, wouldn’t be logical that we take
advantage of it ourselves?
The Festival of Sukkos is always happening after the ingathering, therefore it is
also called the “Ingathering Festival”. Though, logically this should be the time for
the farmer to get a well-deserved rest. He has been toiling yearlong, and now he
sees the fruit of his hard labor. But Hashem decided differently, it’s the time to go
up to Jerusalem and pray for the 70 nations. The timing seems very questionable.
Obviously, there’s more to it than what meet the eye.
The Bnei Yissaschar explains, that “Hashem blessed Bnei Yisrael with Shalom,
Peace”, as we know this is the highest level of blessing, as on Hashem’s seal is
engraved the word “Shalom”. Any decree signed with that seal cannot be reverted
despite the person’s conduct and behavior, and nothing bad can happen to him.
The reason being that “Shalom” has the same numerical value as “Hashmal ”חשמל

[commonly translated as electricity]

.
Let’s explain it. After the days of Judgement, we shake the 4 species, which
inherently are a tremendous blessing: “Lulav לולב ” numerical value is 68 like “Life
חיים ”. “Esrog אתרוג ” numerical value is 610 like “more יֶתֶֶרֶ ”, already together they
mean “More Life”. The “Hadassim הדסים ” numerical value is 119 like “Extremely,
עד מֶאד ”, Finally the “Aravos ערבות ” numerical value is 678 like “The Cherubim, את
הכרבים ”. A Life of hardships is not considered a life, only a life in “Shalom, Peace”
is considered a life, which we get by shaking the 4 species.
2
In other words, just the Mitzva of taking the 4 species provides us the path to a life
that no words can encompass, a peaceful life with the protection of the Cherubim
from our human and spiritual enemies.
Besides, the Mitzva of Sukkah, provide us an outer protection for the year-round,
as said in the Pasuk, “Man was created to the Image [Tseileim] of Hashem”. Truly,
Tseileim translation is not image, it would be closer to “Likeness” or “Form”.
Meaning, the Ben Yisrael was created like the spiritual creatures, with a visible
form and an invisible one. It is like an electrical field that surrounds the person to
protect him.
Though, to the human eye it is invisible, but to the soul and the mazal of a person
it is visible. Even animals can see it and it scares them. By the mere fact to sit and
enjoy the Sukkah, the person gets a “Tseileim” to the level of his intensity and love
for the Mitzva. We’re then alike spiritual creatures, like Angels. This Tseileim
facilitates our life and our dealings with others.
Unbeknownst to them, people are willing to fulfill our wishes just because their
Mazal sees our Tseileim, which force them to respect us and fear us. That would’ve
been a great enough outtaking from Sukkos. Though, Hashem because of His
infinite Love for us, Wants to provide us an even bigger present.
The Zohar informs us that until Shmini Atseres, all the nations were benefitting
from our accomplishment of the different Mitzvos. Though, from now on we’re in
complete communion with only Hashem, the Source of all the Blessings. His
coffers are open to us for the entire day and we can take anything we want.
Meaning anything we truly ask for will be provided.
During the entire year our prayers and demands go through different stages and
gates, but on Shimini Atseres we’re inside the palace, with no interference of any
kind. We don’t need the Angels to transport our prayers, we truly speak directly to
the King of kings, Hashem. We’re inside the Heavens where not many angels have
access. Hashem is awaiting us to tell Him what we need in our lives, and He’ll
provide it. There’s no other day like this in the year!

By Rabbi Fridmann * rabbifridmann@badatzmiami.com * 305.985.3461

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