The fifth day of the holiday of Sukkos begins this evening. At the same time, it is also the sixth day of the week.

What was unique about that first Friday of creation? On the sixth day of creation Adam, the first man, was created, which made the day itself special. But that Friday was also different from the other days of the creation week in that it stressed continuity. For, on the sixth day the Torah tells us that G‑d reviewed all that he had wrought:

G‑d saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. (Bereishis 1:31)

This refers to all things made during all the six days; and the sixth day evoked the approbation “verygood” for all the creatures in existence.

Thus, the sixth day represents the summation of creation — not just the continuity — but the sumtotal! At the same time it also served as a day of preparation for the coming day. Being Erev (the eve of) Shabbos it takes the role of:

He who took trouble to prepare on the eve of the Shabbos can eat on the Shabbos. (Avodah Zarah 3a)

Chassidus explains that his toil and labor of Erev Shabbos become the food of Shabbos. This further underlines the importance of the sixth day as a precursor to the seventh day. These multiple qualities of Friday must also be expressed during Sukkos, relative to the themes of Sukkos and especially to the Simchas Bais HaShoeivah, one of the most essential aspects of Sukkos.

The joy of Simchas Bais HaShoeivah expresses itself in the pouring of the water. Normally, happiness is engendered by (pouring) wine; on Sukkos, the esoteric power of joy in the water is evoked by the pouring of the water, instead of the wine, on the Altar. Lasting for seven days, the holiday of Sukkos gives each day the role of carrying on from the past and transmitting to the future. And each day must increase its joy over the previous days and prepare for the greater joy of the following days. Now, when the fifth day of Sukkos also falls on Friday then this role is enhanced and invigorated.

One aspect of Sukkos is that it reveals, in the context of rejoicing, the aspects of Rosh Hashanah which remained hidden. Rosh Hashanah, of course, is the anniversary of the creation of man who was created by G‑d on Friday of creation — thus, Rosh Hashanah always recalls the Friday of creation. Now, when, during the week of Sukkos, we come to a Friday, it follows that the theme of Rosh Hashanah revealed at the Simchas Bais HaShoeivah will be much more intense on the Friday, for it echoes the special connection Rosh Hashanah has with the first Friday of existence. Thus, the theme of rejoicing at the Simchas Bais HaShoeivah on this night of Sukkos is greatly increased.

The portion that we read this week is VeZos HaBerachah, which indicates the revelation of the blessings, and is also expressed in the joy of Sukkos and in the portion read on Friday — the sixth reading section. We find the verse: “Happy are you (Ashrecha) Israel.” (Devarim 33:29) In the word Ashrecha you will find the letters of Shir — song — the embodiment of joy.

The Torah section begins: “The Eternal G‑d as a shelter above...” (Ibid.:27) and concludes with: “...and you shall crush their high altars underfoot,” (Ibid.:29) both indicating rising higher and higher, and evoking more joy.

The purpose of this analysis of the ascending levels of joy is to motivate actual rejoicing, especially dancing. While we are speaking of the lofty joy of drawing water from the “wells of salvation,” and how it is enhanced by the sixth day and its Torah reading, at the same time all these lofty aspects must descend and come down to earth in simple action — dancing. After all, your legs dance, and the heels of your feet are the lowest part of the person; and this represents the unification of upper and lower. The mind activates the dancing feet and then the dancing feet raise the head even higher than before.

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In today’s Rambam section we find the law of tithing newborn kosher cattle in the section dealing with the Laws of Firstlings. Regarding this juxtaposition the Rambam had indicated:

And I have included tithe of cattle with firstlings since the procedure for them both is the same and Scripture has included them both together, for it is said: “And their blood you shall toss.” (Bamidbar 18:17) From oral tradition it is learned that this refers to the blood of the tithe and the blood of the firstling. (Rambam, Introduction to Laws Concerning Firstlings)

A careful scrutiny of this statement will underscore that the Rambam did not really explain why firstlings and cattle tithes are one subject, he only made reference to the verse. The same question applies to the verse, why does Scripture combine these two distinct mitzvos in one verse?

Further analysis will reveal that tithes and firstlings (maaser and bechor) really have opposite themes. Tithe is, after all, the part given at the end of the count; after counting ten (and tithing), we start another cycle of ten. In the grace after eating once ten men assemble there is no difference in the preliminary benedictions.

On the other hand, firstlings are first, at the beginning and outset. So why does Scripture bunch them together in one verse? The answer is that this combination emphasizes the relationship of beginning and end. For in matters of holiness we say:

The beginning is tied to the end and the conclusion is bound up with the beginning. (Sefer Yetzirah)

As such, this inclusion of the laws of cattle tithes in the laws of firstlings emphasizes this principle of the beginning being tied to the end. This relationship of first and last (tenth) is even stronger than the association of first and second or ninth and tenth.

This same beginning-ending relation is hinted at in today’s Torah section where we find “Happy are you O Israel.” The Midrash relates:

Wherewith did Moshe conclude (his blessings)? With, “Happy are you O Israel,” and so Dovid, too, when he came to utter praise, began where Moshe left off: “Happy is the man” (Tehillim 1:1). (Bereishis Rabbah End of Vayechi)

Starting with the same term that was used to conclude is also a form of binding the beginning with the end. This theme is reiterated by the connection of Moshe and Dovid as explained in Chassidus.

The Tzemach Tzedek in Or HaTorah writes:

Dovid started the book of Psalms with the words, “Happy is the man,” the same term that Moshe used when concluding his blessings of the Jewish people. It may be said that Dovid symbolizes Mashiach, while Moshe’s power derives from chochmah — wisdom — called first. Thus, Moshe is only a beginning, relative to Mashiach, and Mashiach will be the end. (Or HaTorah, Devarim pg. 1481)

The connection between Moshe and Dovid, the “first redeemer” and the “final redeemer” again reiterates this symbolic relationship of beginning and end. And the Laws of Bechor and Maaser also may fit in with Moshe who was first — Bechor, and Dovid who will be last — (tenth — maaser). We find many terms of ten associated with Mashiach: the tenth song of praise, the tenth Red Heifer, and the ten-stringed lyre of Mashiach.

By starting out with the words that Moshe used to conclude, Dovid indicated that in fact his role was a continuation of Moshe’s. Moreover, the Torah which Mashiach will teach to all the Jewish people — including the Patriarchs and Moshe — is only a revelation of the esoteric aspects of Moshe’s Torah. Thus, Dovid is truly a continuation of Moshe.

When the Baal Shem Tov was told by Mashiach that the spreading of the wellsprings of Chassidus would speed his (Mashiach’s) coming, reference was once again made to the revelation of the esoteric teachings whose source is also from Sinai.

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Today’s Ushpizin (Sukkah guests) are Aharon HaKohen and the Tzemach Tzedek. Both worked hard to increase unity and Ahavas Yisrael among the Jewish people.

Of Aharon the Mishnah states:

Be of the disciples of Aharon, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving your fellow creatures and bringing them near to the Torah. (Avos 1:12)

Aharon united the Jewish people and forged them into one being, through Torah.

The Tzemach Tzedek, through his Torah and communal activities, was able to eliminate conflicting and opposing camps among the Jews, to the point of effecting unity and peace among all the people. Jewish unity is an expression of binding the beginning with the end, for you unite the leaders with the water drawers. When the end is united with the beginning making a complete circle, then there is neither top nor bottom.

There were, however, differences between Aharon’s approach and the Tzemach Tzedek’s approach. Aharon worked permanently with the simple folk, and concentrated on simple matters, and sometimes, in order to bring domestic peace, he even had to “modify” the story which he related.

The Tzemach Tzedek, however, worked mainly with the leaders of the Jewish people and the divergent factions. Through the Tzemach Tzedek’s brilliant Torah novella in the exoteric and esoteric realms of Torah, the Tzemach Tzedek accomplished unity.

However, at the same time we find that both Aharon and the Tzemach Tzedek also worked at the other end of the spectrum. Aharon also taught the sages of Israel, and the Tzemach Tzedek also dealt with the average people. We know of the many times he had to meet with government officials or with maskilim (members of the so called “enlightment” reformers), and that his discussions in matters other than Torah brought the hoped-for results. Thus, the Tzemach Tzedek and Aharon both operated across the gamut, from one extreme to the other.

In the case of the Tzemach Tzedek, we find additional points of connection between beginning and end. Among all the leaders of Chabad — the Rebbeim — it is noteworthy that only the Tzemach Tzedek is referred to by the name of his magnum opus. In all cases the term “Rebbe” or some similar title is included in the appellation which Chassidim and Chassidus uses. The “Baal” Shem Tov, the Alter “Rebbe,” the “Rebbe” Maharash, etc. This fact becomes most evident when we list all the names of the Rebbeim and mention the Tzemach Tzedek among them.

The name “Tzemach Tzedek” was chosen by his sons, after his passing, to be the title of his collected teachings and writings in Talmudic and halachic areas, which were prepared and published post-mortem. After the work was published the name caught on and was used in reference to the person and not the book. Where does the name Tzemach Tzedek come from? Chassidim say that it represents the same gematria as the name of the Tzemach Tzedek. (Tzemach = Menachem = 138, Tzedek = Mendel = 194). The term Tzemach Tzedek also may be homiletically associated with Mashiach. The name Tzemach is the name of Mashiach:

I will bring forth My servant, Tzemach. (Zechariah 3:8)

And, as we recite at the close of the Hosha’anos:

There has appeared a man, his name is Tzemach. (Siddur)

The word Tzedek refers to our righteous Mashiach as we say in the discourse of Eliyahu:

..righteousness (Tzedek) is the holy kingship. (Tikkunei Zohar, Intro II)

Why is this so?

The Tzemach Tzedek worked feverishly to spread the wellsprings of Chassidus and he accomplished much in the area of unity of the different factions in Judaism, which was accomplished partly by his symbiosis of the revealed and hidden aspects of Torah.

Thus, we refer to the Tzemach Tzedek as the harbinger who leads us to Mashiach, for the dissemination of the fountains of Chassidus will bring Mashiach. In this way the Tzemach Tzedek becomes an important link in the chain of continuity between Moshe and Mashiach which represents the connection of beginning and end.

The practical lesson for us tonight is to increase the joy of Simchas Bais HaShoeivah beyond the joy of all the previous days of Sukkos.

The joy must likewise be fresh and new, for on this day we will stress the theme of Mashiach who will introduce many innovations. While the joy must emanate from lofty heights the rejoicing must descend to the simple down-to-earth levels — and evoke enthusiastic dancing in the streets. This will express the ideal of the beginning being bound up with the end. At the same time the joy must affect the world around us, so that even the non-Jews will be influenced and they will assist and provide protection for the Simchas Bais HaShoeivah celebration.

Since Aharon is the Ushpizin today, and since Aharon showed love for his “fellow creatures,” surely his love included all of G‑d’s creations: man and beast, Jew and gentile, all the seventy nations of the world.

In today’s Chumash portion we also speak of the “high places” of the nations, meaning their kings. The gist of this is that we must utilize the power of the “high places” and the gentile nations, to raise ourselves to higher plateaus. As we find in the Gemara, that a gentile king adjusted the sash of a Jew and paid him respect and homage.

These lessons are eternal, and when a Jew advances with the power of Torah, the world takes notice and assists him — just as in this neighborhood where the leaders of the communal activities have given permission, help and protection for the Simchas Bais HaShoeivah — then the rejoicing is intensified beyond what would have been.

May our actions speed the time of complete redemption through our righteous Mashiach and then we will receive the “new Torah.” Then the Jewish people will be redeemed “with our youth and elders, our sons and daughters” and then those that dwell in the dust will arise, and all the Ushpizin among them, and we will reach a unified people with the whole Torah and we will all go to dance in the Holy Land, in the Holy City of Yerushalayim in the Bais HaMikdash.

May this all come speedily and instantly, so that we don’t have to wait, speedily and truly in our days — so may it be.