1. Tonight is the seventh1 and final day of Simchas Beis HaShoeivah. According to the principle, “Always ascend higher in holy matters,” it follows that our celebrations and rejoicing must reach a complete and perfect state on the present night.2 This concept is alluded to in the name of the day, Hoshana Rabbah, which means “great salvation.”

Similarly, today represents the complete fulfillment of the visits of the Ushpizan. Tonight, the primary Ushpizan, King Dovid and the Rebbe Rashab, share a common factor, the concept of peace. Dovid is referred to as “Dovid Malkah Mashiach,” thus, establishing his connection to the Messianic age which represents the ultimate of peace. Even though King Dovid fought many wars throughout own life, ultimately, he was able to reach a state of peace. Furthermore, his efforts enabled the reign of Shlomo, his son, to be characterized by peace as it is stated, “There was peace and tranquility in his times.” Thus, we see a connection to the Rebbe Rashab whose name — which reflects the nature of his character — was Shalom — “peace.”

The Rebbe Rashab’s second name, DovBer, combines both the Hebrew and Yiddish terms that mean “bear.” A bear is connected with exile as our Sages state, “The Persians eat like bears, drink like bears, and are overladen with meat like bears.” The ultimate intent of the exile is not that it be negated, but rather that the darkness itself be transformed into light. Thus, we see a stress on eating meat in the Messianic age when we will celebrate with eating the meat of the Leviathan and the wild ox.

The concept of transforming the exile into redemption is also related to the Rebbe Rashab’s second name DovBer which is composed from the fusion of the Hebrew and Yiddish terms for “bear”.3 In Chassidic thought, it is explained that the translation of a term into a secular language reflects drawing the concept down into lower levels, planes on which there is room for the gentiles’ existence. Thus, the extension of the influence of Shalom to the level of Dov (the Hebrew for “bear”) and Ber (the Yiddish) reflects the transformation of the exile into redemption.

This concept also relates to Rashi’s statements at the beginning of his commentary on the Torah where he explains why rather than begin with the mitzvos, the Torah starts with the narrative of creation. This order was chosen lest the gentiles protest that the Jews stole Eretz Yisrael from them. On the basis of the Torah’s narrative of creation, the Jews could reply that, “the land is G‑d’s. He chose to give it to you and then, He chose to take it from you and give it to us.” This explanation does not negate the gentile’s claim that G‑d gave the land to them. It explains, however, that just as He gave it to them, He can — in a process of transforming darkness into light — take it from them and give it to us.

In this context, we can understand why it is through the study of the Zohar, Pnimiyus HaTorah that “Israel will be redeemed from exile with mercy.” The study of Pnimiyus HaTorah awakens the service of Teshuvah that is involved with the transformation of darkness into light.4

The concept of peace is also connected to the celebrations of the holiday of Sukkos. We find that our Sages relaxed certain restrictions in regard to the laws of ritual purity to allow for peace and unity among the Jewish people during the festivals. Similarly, there is a connection to bears which are “overladen with meat,” for eating meat at the festive meals5 is one of the means which the Shulchan Aruch recommends to express the joy of the holiday. (Our Sages explain that the intent of the Torah’s commandment to rejoice on the festivals was that the people should eat sacrificial meat. Even at present when the Beis Mikdash is destroyed, there is, nevertheless, a certain dimension of joy associated with eating meat. Hence, it is appropriate to do so in celebration of the festivals.)6

May the celebrations of Simchas Beis HaShoeivah on the present night reveal how it is a night of Hoshana Rabbah, “great salvation.” Though there are other services connected with the present night, reciting the Book of Devarim and after midnight, the recitation of the entire Book of Psalms,7 these activities should not minimize the joy of Simchas Beis HaShoeivah. This will lead to the ultimate of “salvations,” the Messianic redemption. May it be now, immediately.