1. As mentioned on previous occasions, at all times we must “open with blessing.” Nevertheless, this principle is particularly relevant on the holidays which are “days of blessing.” There is an additional emphasis to the above on Sukkos, for the Torah mentions happiness three times in connection with the celebration of this holiday,1 thus establishing a chazakah, a sequence of three associated with strength and continued influence.

On the holiday of Sukkos, positive influence is also contributed by the ushpizen, “the honored guests” who visit our Sukkos. Although every night of Sukkos is connected with a specific ushpiz, there is an interconnection between the various nights2 and thus in addition to the influence of the ushpiz from the present night, we also benefit from the influence of the ushpiz of the previous night.

The ushpiz of the first night is Avraham3 whose significance is implied by his name which means “a father of a multitude of nations.” This phrase is taken from the Torah and thus is applicable at all times, from the beginning of creation4 until eternity. Avraham is also connected with the Chassidic ushpiz, the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the Chassidic movement as a whole.

The positive influence is enhanced by the ushpiz of the present night, the Patriarch Yitzchak. Indeed, Yitzchak possesses an advantage even over Avraham his father, for “the power of the son surpasses the power of the father.”5

Yitzchak is associated with the quality of happiness6 as reflected in Sarah’s exclamation, “Whoever hears will rejoice with me.” As soon as Yitzchak was born, he brought happiness to Avraham and Sarah and he continues to serve as a source of happiness in the generations that follow.

Even in the Days of Awe, when our happiness is expressed in the manner of “they rejoiced while trembling,” Yitzchak receives prominence. The Zohar relates that on Rosh HaShanah, when we blow the shofar, Avraham is on the right side, Yaakov on the left side, and Yitzchak is in the center. In this manner, influence is drawn down from the shofar, an influence associated with the acceptance of G‑d’s Kingship7 which affects the nature of the entire year to come. Surely, the influence of Rosh HaShanah on Sukkos is pronounced, for it is the first holiday of the new year.

Yitzchak was also “a perfect sacrifice.” As such, he remained in Eretz Yisrael for his entire life, being above any connection to the Diaspora. The above relates to every Jew for the qualities of the Patriarchs were endowed as a heritage to each one of their descendants.

It is on this day — and in all the activities of the day, not only in one’s eating and drinking — that the qualities of Yitzchak must shine in a powerful manner as they do on his birthday. Significantly, the day of Yitzchak’s birth is not explicitly mentioned in the Torah, but the circumstances of his birth are, i.e., the Torah relates that his birth was a matter of public knowledge. Furthermore, since there were gentiles who spread rumors that Yitzchak was not born to Avraham and Sarah, on the day Yitzchak was weaned, Sarah nursed the children of gentile kings8 to show that it was she who gave birth to Yitzchak.

The above must be expressed on the level of deed, for “deed is most essential” is one of the fundamental principles of the Torah. There are certain mitzvos, e.g., Torah study, which are fulfilled primarily on the level of speech,9 and other mitzvos which are fulfilled on the level of thought; for example, there are six mitzvos, e.g., the love and fear of G‑d, which we are obligated to fulfill at all times. These six mitzvos are referred to as the six Cities of Refuge.

There is a connection between the Cities of Refuge and Torah study as reflected in our Sages’ comment, “The words of the Torah are a refuge.” A Jew who lives in a City of Refuge must live there forever. He is forbidden to leave his City of Refuge even to save the entire Jewish people. Similarly, a person must be totally absorbed in Torah study to the extent that his connection is not bounded by time. If, in fact, such limitations exist, they limit only the time when a particular subject should be studied, but the obligation to study is incumbent upon us at all times. For example, there is an obligation to study Torah on Tishah BeAv; in the present era,10 however, there are limitations on the subject matter that can be studied on that day.

As mentioned, “Deed is most essential.” The deed of present concern is increasing our celebration of Simchas Beis HaShoeivah, expanding our rejoicing beyond that of the previous day. In general, “one must always advance in regard to holy matters.” Particularly, when happiness is involved and there is a new influence, panim chadoshos, this should result in increased joy.

This is particularly true in the present year, 5752, תהא שנת נפלאות בה, “a year which will contain wonders.” And these wonders will be “in all things” (niflaos bakol), affecting every element of existence and uniting all existence with its source in G‑d’s essence.11 We must publicize these wonders to the world at large12 and emphasize that they are G‑dly in origin.

In this manner we will proceed together with the entire Jewish people and celebrate Simchas Beis HaShoeivah in Eretz Yisrael, in Jerusalem, and in the Beis HaMikdash. May this take place in the immediate future.