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Friday, October 17

The Weekly Shtikle - Shabbas Chol HaMoeid Sukkos

After the haftarah is read this Shabbos, the last berachah will begin "Al haTorah, ve'al ha'avodah, ve'al hanvi'im, ve'al yom haShabbos hazeh, veyom chag haSukkos hazeh..." (as per Mishnah Berurah 664:9) However, six months from now, when we read the haftarah for Shabbas Chol HaMoeid Pesach, there will be no mention of Pesach in that berachah. The Mishnah Berurah explains there (490:16) that what distinguishes Sukkos from Pesach is that since the tally of korbanos was different for each day of Sukkos, each day is considered a moeid in and of itself whereas on Pesach, the exact same korbanos were brought every single day.

Another marked difference between Sukkos and Pesach is that on Sukkos we say a full Hallel every day whereas on Pesach we say a full Hallel only on the first days of Yom Tov. The most well-known reason for this is probably the one given by Mishnah Berurah, that we refrain from saying a full Hallel due to the Egyptian loss of life at Yam Suf. However, the gemara (Erchin 10b) offers a different reason. In fact, it is the very same reason as the one given above for the difference in the berachah on the haftarah. The variance in the korbanos offered each day is also the reason why we recite a full Hallel every day of Sukkos.

The gemara later discusses why no Hallel is recited on Purim. One answer offered is that we do not say Hallel on a miracle that occurred outside of Eretz Yisroel. The gemara asks, "but we say Hallel on Pesach which was a miracle outside of Eretz Yisroel!" The gemara does not seem to be bothered by Sukkos. Isn't Sukkos also commemorating a miracle outside of Eretz Yisroel? 

Sukkos, or at least the sitting in the sukkah, is to remind us of the Divine Providence, the Clouds of Glory with which HaShem protected us in the desert. But perhaps this commemoration is not meant to be simply a historical one. Pesach, conversely, is clearly a historical celebration. Even the commandment to relive the exodus as if we had experienced it ourselves is worded as follows: (Mishnah Pesachim 10:5) "Chayav adam lir'os es atzmo ke'ilu yatza miMitzrayim," yatza not yotzei. We are not commanded to feel as though the exodus is happening now, just to feel that we had lived it in the past and give proper gratitude. But perhaps Sukkos is different. We do, indeed, reflect on the miracles and wonders HaShem performed for us in the desert but the true task of Sukkos is to use that experience to feel HaShem's Divine Presence today. It is not enough to remember that HaShem provided for us then. That is simply the vehicle by which to realize that HaShem is likewise providing for us now. Thus, the holiday of Sukkos, and the Hallel which we recite, are not only a commemoration of a miracle performed outside of Eretz Yisroel. It is an expression of gratitude and joy for the wonders HaShem performs even to this day, wherever we may be.

Have a good Shabbos and Moadim le'Simchah!

Eliezer Bulka


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