Sukkot By: Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron בס”ד
לשכנו תדרשו Inviting the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land
And You Shall Be Happy Before Hashem Your God Seven Days
The verb root for happiness, s.m.h, when placed in a different order, h.m.s, are the verb root for “being armed with weaponry.” This matter hints to the fact that happiness is a great weapon of might against all our enemies, whether external or internal, such as the evil inclination. Indeed, Nehemia teaches us that “happiness upon Hashem is your might” (Nehemia 8, 10). Beautifully, our Sages liken the four species of Sukot to weapons of victory (Vayikra Rabba Emor 30:2). It is with these “weapons” that we show that we arise victorious from the Day of Yom Kippur. It is upon these “weapons” that the verse says that with them “you shall be happy before Hashem Your God seven days.”
Another permutation of the fore-mentioned verb-root is “Hushim” or Shuham, both of which are names of Dan’s son. According to the Midrash it was Hushim the son of Dan who severed the head Esau when he tried to oppose Yakov’s right of being buried at Maaras HaMachpela. Here again we say the connection between these letters and armed force. Not only in protecting the true rights towards Maaras HaMachpela does Dan (Hushim) have a special connection to Hebron, but also in regard to the origins of Dan, even before he was born.
According to numbers of sources the first time a word is mentioned in the Torah carries special significance. The first time “Dan” is mentioned in the Torah is in Avraham’s famous battle to save Lot, this battle originating in no other than Hebron. Indeed, it is through the courageous spirit, the “different wind” imbued unto Kaleb in Hebron, that Dan receives his courageous fighting spirit to fight for Israel.
Real Stories from the Holy Land
It was the custom of the Jews of Hebron to gather schach every year from the Arab villages adjacent to Hebron. One year, just before Yom Kippur fierce battles erupted between these Arab villages, dozens were killed, and travelling to these villages was considered dangerous. Therefore, the Jews of Hebron awaited salvation – from where would they receive schach this year for their sukkot? At the dawn of the fourteenth of Tishrei, suddenly three Bedouins with three camels, carrying schach and willows, appeared at the Jewish Community of Hebron. The Bedouins unloaded the schach and willows (aravot) and then they and their camels disappeared. This schach was used that year in Hebron’s Community Sukka, and all said: “who could these Bedouins be, if not the Patriarchs of the world?
Sefer Hebron p. 311