Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson, of blessed memory,1 the Rebbe’s father, received his rabbinic ordination from a number of distinguished rabbis, among them the Gaon, Reb Chayim Brisker. Reb Chayim’s exam was extremely demanding. In addition to the questions Reb Chayimposed, he also asked Rabbi Levi Yitzchak to respond to some of the queries that had been placed before Reb Chayim.

The following was among the questions: A Jew shared a jointly owned sukkah in a common courtyard together with his other Jewish neighbors. Unfortunately, they had forgotten to make an Eiruvei Chatzeiros which would have permitted them to carry on Shabbos from their houses to the sukkah in the courtyard. The Jew asked Reb Chayimwhat should be done on Shabbos.

Reb Chayimturned to Rabbi Levi Yitzchak and asked him to adjudicate the matter. Rabbi Levi Yitzchak immediately answered that the jointly owned sukkah itself served as the eiruv,2 transforming the courtyard into a common domain and permitting all the courtyard dwellers to carry from their homes to the sukkah in the courtyard.

All matters found in the exoteric portion of Torah are also found — on a more rarefied level — in the esoteric portion of Torah. How does this apply to the above law of a sukkah acting as an eiruv?

The differences between one Jew and another (and thus the differences in their “domains”) apply only insofar as their bodies and their internal soul powers are concerned. Regarding their essence and even their encompassing soul powers, “all Jews are truly brothers,”3 without any division between them.

Since the enveloping quality of a sukkah is of an encompassing level4 — it has the ability to provide a mutual commonality, bringing together one Jew with his fellow — it acts as an eiruv, commingling one Jew with his brother. This is in keeping with the saying of our Sages, that “All Jews are worthy of occupying the same sukkah,”5 for from the perspective of the encircling level of sukkah, all Jews are truly one.

However, this requires additional amplification. The unity engendered by the revelation of an encompassing degree seemingly results from its being so powerful that it nullifies the inherent divisions that emanate from physically distinct bodies.

Here, however, in order for a sukkah to serve as an eiruv, it is not enough that the courtyard dwellers cease thinking of their individual affairs. On the contrary, the sukkah acts as an eiruv because “A person’s attention is drawn to where his food is,” and on Sukkos all the courtyard dwellers eat their food in the common sukkah.6

How, then, can the enveloping level of sukkah, and its ability to nullify physical divisions, act as a means for all those within to become as one — eiruv — for the altogether personal and individual act of eating?

The verse “You shall dwell in sukkos for seven days,”7 teaches us two opposite things: On the one hand, the seven-day limitation indicates that a sukkah is but a temporary dwelling;8 on the other hand, we also learn that one is to “dwell” in his temporary sukkah in the same manner that one dwells in his permanent abode.9

In spiritual terms this means the following: The sukkah teaches us that the physical world, in and of itself, is but a temporary dwelling. Yet, by dint of the fact that this impermanent dwelling is utilized by the individual for permanent and eternal purposes — doing all one’s physical deeds “for the sake of Heaven,” for the performance of the commandments, etc. — the person thereby transforms the makeshift temporary dwelling into a permanent dwelling, moreover, a dwelling for G‑d Himself.

By so doing, the person draws down the encompassing level of sukkah even within his physical food, so that the very food serves as a vehicle for G‑dliness.

The statement “A person’s attention is drawn to where his food is” will be understood accordingly:

It is not the physicality of the food that truly draws man’s attention toward it; it is because with this food the person is fulfilling the commandment of sukkah, thereby transforming the frail, physical sukkah into a robust, spiritual edifice.

Since this attitude of employing one’s food in the performance of a mitzvah emanates from the enveloping spirituality of sukkah, it follows that the sukkah — the entity that conjoins all Jews — affects their food as well, that even with regard to matters so worldly as food, all Jews are one. The sukkah thus truly acts as an eiruv.

Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. IX, pp. 91-93.