1. At present, the celebration of Simchas Beis HaShoeivah is appropriate on the first night of Sukkos as well. The Talmud states that, “The flute (the primary element of the Simchas Beis HaShoeivah celebrations) does not supersede [the observance of] Shabbos or the festivals,” and therefore, in the Beis HaMikdash, Simchas Beis HaShoeivah was not held on these days. This restriction, however, stems from the prohibition of playing musical instruments on these days since Simchas Beis HaShoeivah was not celebrated in the Beis HaMikdash without musical instruments.1

In contrast, in the present age, when there is no necessity to associate Simchas Beis HaShoeivah with musical instruments, there is no difficulty in beginning Simchas Beis HaShoeivah on the first night of Sukkos. On the contrary, the rejoicing of Simchas Beis HaShoeivah must be truly unlimited,2 so great that there is no need for musical instruments.

Although this concept applies every year, it is particularly relevant in the present year when the Sukkos holiday begins with a three day continuum of holiness in which the festivals are followed by Shabbos. (Furthermore, this phenomenon repeats itself three times, on Rosh HaShanah, Sukkos, and Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah.)

In general, Sukkos is connected with the revelation of the service of Rosh HaShanah.3 This is evident from the fact that Rosh HaShanah falls on the first of the month, the first shining of the moon,4 and Sukkos falls on the fifteenth of the month, when the moon is full.

May we soon merit to hold Simchas Beis HaShoeivah in the courtyard of the Beis HaMikdash, the Azorah. The latter name is related to the word ezra which means “help,” i.e., the actual place brings about help and assistance from G‑d. Similarly, the name Beis HaKnesses, literally, “a place of gathering together,” i.e., a shul, “a sanctuary in microcosm,” implies that the actual place binds the people together and creates unity among them.

Similarly, the present time, “the season of our rejoicing” enhances our happiness. Although all the holidays are described as festivals for rejoicing, Pesach and Shavuos have other names, “the season of our freedom,” “the season of the giving of our Torah,” which define their character. In contrast, Sukkos is described as “the season of our rejoicing,” implying that the nature of the time period increases our happiness.

Similarly, our happiness should be increased because we are found in the shul of the Previous Rebbe. The Previous Rebbe provided an example of service of G‑d with happiness and inspired other Jews to serve G‑d with the same feelings despite the fact that he suffered severe health problems and other difficulties.

This is particularly true since it is shortly after the Ten Days of Teshuvah. Teshuvah has the potential to elevate our deeds. The Alter Rebbe explains this concept within the context of the Mishnaic phrase: “One hour of teshuvah and good deeds.” On the surface, one should expect that good deeds should be mentioned first and then, teshuvah for teshuvah comes to compensate for a deficiency in our performance of good deeds. The order the Mishnah uses indicates that teshuvah makes our deeds “good and illuminated.”

The above is also enhanced by the influence of the ushpizen, the honored guests who visit us in the Sukkah. In addition to the ushpizen mentioned in the Zohar, we are also visited by the Chassidic ushpizen.

It is proper to mention them, not by their individual names, but rather by the names with which they functioned as Nesi’im.5 Thus the Baal Shem Tov should be referred to by that name rather than the name Yisrael. The Maggid of Mezritch should be referred to by that name rather than the name DovBer. The Alter Rebbe should be referred to as “The author of the Tanya and the Shulchan Aruch,” rather than Shneur Zalman. The Mitteler Rebbe should be referred to by that name rather than the name DovBer. Similarly, the Tzemach Tzedek should be referred to by those names (both of which allude to Mashiach). The Rebbe Maharash should be referred to by that name rather than the name Shmuel (which relates to the prophet Shmuel). The Rebbe Nishmaso Eden (the Rebbe Rashab) should be known by that name6 rather than the name Shalom DovBer.

To these, we should add the name of the Previous Rebbe, whose two names, Yosef Yitzchok, are connected to the ultimate redemption: The name Yosef (יוסף) is connected to the prophecy, “G‑d will again (יוסיף ה') stretch forth His hand,” and collect the Jewish people from the furthest removed places. Yitzchok is associated with the quality of joy which will be revealed with the coming of Mashiach, “Then our mouths will be filled with joy.”

This will be hastened by the celebration of Simchas Beis HaShoeivah, not only in the synagogues, but in the streets, transforming the public domain into a private domain. This, in turn, will lead to the celebration of Simchas Beis HaShoeivah in Eretz Yisrael, in Jerusalem, and in the Beis HaMikdash.

The Blessing to the Guests

2. It is proper to begin with a blessing, the blessing Gut Yom Tov. This is particularly appropriate on Sukkos, “the season of our rejoicing.” The plural form of the latter name implies that our happiness is not individual in nature, but rather, is shared by the entire Jewish people.

Our people are fused into a single collective and are one entity for we are all descendants of the Patriarch Yaakov. Indeed, Yaakov contains within his soul the source for all the 600,000 general souls of the Jewish people.7

The above is also related to the ushpiz of the present evening, the Patriarch Avraham. Avraham was also characterized by oneness and uniqueness as it is said, “Avraham was one.” Similarly, even the Hittites recognized the uniqueness of his character declaring, “You are the prince of G‑d in our midst.”8

May the oneness of Avraham be reflected in the revelation of the oneness of G‑d that will accompany the coming of Mashiach. Then “G‑d will be king over the entire earth. On that day, G‑d will be One and His Name One.” At that time, G‑d’s agents, the Jewish people, will also be given sovereignty over the world.

This also relates to tonight’s Chassidic ushpiz, the Baal Shem Tov. He was named Yisrael, the name for the entire Jewish people and the true name of every individual Jew. “Even if one sins, he is still Yisrael.” This is particularly relevant at present after we have completed the period of teshuvah and atonement. Thus, our sins are transformed into merits.9

The word teshuvah means “return.” May this lead to our return, together with the entire Jewish people, to Eretz Yisrael, to Jerusalem, and to the Beis HaMikdash.