1. It is customary to “Begin with blessing.” Thus, when one Jew meets another Jew, he blesses him, Shalom Aleichem,” and his colleague responds, Aleichem Shalom.” Shalom has two meanings: one, “peace” and the second, “perfection.” The two are interrelated. Through peace, uniting with another Jew and opening oneself up to learning from him, one achieves greater self-fulfillment and perfection. Every person can contribute something to someone else as implied by our Sages’ statement, “Who is a wise man? One who learns from every person.”1

The above is particularly appropriate in the month of Tishrei, the beginning of the year,2 which starts with the holiday of Rosh HaShanah. At that time, the Jews fulfill G‑d’s wish and crown Him as King.

Any king — how much more so, G‑d, King of kings — is concerned with the welfare of his subjects3 and seeks to provide them with their needs. Furthermore, G‑d grants us beneficence, not according to our own perception of our needs, but according to His conception of them and according to His boundless potential to give.4

G‑d’s generosity is further enhanced by the positive nature of the present time. Chassidic thought explains that the spiritual influences which are hidden — i.e., too sublime to be revealed within the context of this material world — on Rosh HaShanah are revealed on the festival of Sukkos.5 Thus, these days, “a time of joy,” when the Jews fulfill G‑d’s request to accept Him as King6 and, in particular, the holiday of Sukkos when the happiness that is connected with that service is revealed, are times of blessing.

This is alluded to in the name for the holiday of Sukkos, “the season of our rejoicing.”7 On a simple level, the plural is used because this is a time of happiness for the entire Jewish people. This is reflected in Torah law, which obligates us to share our festive joy not only with our families, but also with guests. In particular, the importance of having guests is emphasized on the holiday of Sukkos by the association with the ushpizen, a term which means “guests.”

In addition, the expression, “our rejoicing,” alludes to the fact that, in addition to the rejoicing of the Jewish people, “Israel will rejoice in its Maker,” Sukkos is a time of rejoicing for G‑d, “the L‑rd will rejoice in His works.” In this time of coupled celebration, G‑d’s generosity will be even greater.8

G‑d’s beneficence is also manifest in His endowment of the potential to celebrate Simchas Beis HaShoeivah with even greater joy than on the previous night — which itself represented an increase over the celebrations of the night which preceded it — to the extent that “Whoever did not see [this] Simchas Beis HaShoeivah never saw happiness in his life,” i.e., the celebrations of this Simchas Beis HaShoeivah should overshadow all the happiness one has previously experienced.

This is enhanced by three day continuum of holiness created because the celebration of Sukkos flows directly into Shabbos.9 This establishes a chazakah10 in regard to happiness for Shabbos is also associated with happiness as our Sages commented, “ ’The days of your rejoicing’ — These are the Shabbasos.”

There are two meanings associated with the concept of a chazakah:

a) strength, in this context, a strengthening of our happiness, and,

b) an assurance that the matter will continue. Even in worldly matters, when something is repeated three times, there is a likelihood that it will continue.

There is another unique source of happiness on Sukkos, the presence of the ushpizen, both those mentioned in the Zohar and the Chassidic ushpizen mentioned by the Previous Rebbe. [Indeed, it would be proper to mention the Chassidic ushpizen before those mentioned in the Zohar since it is through Chassidus that we are able to understand the Zohar’s teachings.]

Yaakov, our Patriarch, the primary ushpiz of the present night shares a particular connection with the holiday of Sukkos for the Torah specifically mentions him in association with Sukkos.

Yaakov is associated with the service of Torah study. His influence is complemented by the Alter Rebbe whose name Shneur Zalman11 implies that the two lights of Torah (Nigleh, the teachings of Torah law, and Pnimiyus HaTorah) are drawn down l’zman12 (“into time”), i.e., internalized within the context of our material world.

May the celebration of Simchas Beis HaShoeivah tonight surpass that of the previous nights and may this soon lead to the ultimate celebration of Simchas Beis HaShoeivah in the Beis HaMikdash with the coming of Mashiach. May it be in the immediate future.