1. Although Simchas Bais Hashoeva extends for seven days, and tonight is already part of the latter days, nevertheless, each day of Sukkos (the sixth in our case) possesses a unique service (aside from being a continuation of the previous five days, and a preparation to the following seventh day). Today’s unique quality is expressed in two aspects: 1) the special distinction accruing from Tuesday, the third day of the week; 2) the special “guests” of today: Yosef and the Rebbe Maharash.

The third day of the week is special in that on the third day of creation G‑d said “it was good” twice. Correspondingly, extra joy is present today, for “good” is associated with joy, and today “it was good” was said twice — double joy. Moreover, Chassidus explains that the future redemption is connected to the idea of “double” — double consolation — and thus today’s joy is also associated with the redemption.

In man’s service to G‑d, the double “it was good” refers to “good for heaven” and good for creations.” There are two interpretations to this: 1) “Heaven” corresponds to one’s service in spiritual matters, whereas “creatures” correspond to service with material things; 2) “heaven” corresponds to service between man and his Creator, whereas “creatures” refer to matters between man and man. A person must combine both the service of “heaven” and that of “creatures” — in both interpretations.

In practical terms, in regard to Simchas Bais Hashoeva, we learn from the third day of the week that in addition to one’s own rejoicing, a Jew must also make those around him joyous — even those who have no other redeeming feature than that they are “creatures.” Indeed, the term “creatures” encompasses everything in the world, including the public domain, for it too is a creation of G‑d — particularly according to the Baal Shem Tov’s teaching that everything is constantly being created anew. Thus “good for creatures” includes a Jew’s efforts to ensure that even the “street” (public domain) rejoices and dances! If we have spoken on previous nights of the necessity of celebrating Simchas Bais Hashoeva in the public domain specifically, to the extent that the “streets” themselves dance, it certainly applies tonight, when the idea of “good for heavens and good for creations” is emphasized.

2. As noted above, today’s unique quality is also expressed in its “guests” — Yosef and the Rebbe Maharash. Both of them are the concept of the “sefirah” of Yesod; and the Rebbe Maharash (today’s “guest”) explains that “joy” in the verse “You shall draw water with joy from the springs of salvation” refers to the sefirah of Yesod

This is also emphasized by today’s portion of Chumash, which is “To Yosef he said.” It is also connected to the idea of “good for heavens and good for creations” — to bring the joy of Simchas Bais Hashoeva to the lowest level, even to “creatures” — for the function of the “sefirah” of Yesod is to bring all the revelations of the sefirahs above it down to the sefirah of Malchus.

In greater clarification: One of Yosef’s achievements is the bringing down of G‑dliness below. The forefathers and the other tribes were shepherds, for they wished to have solitude to be “chariots” for G‑dliness. Yosef, on the other hand, was engaged in worldly matters, and yet, even in his capacity as viceroy of all Egypt, he was still a total “chariot” to G‑dliness. Such a service is infinitely higher than that of the other tribes. Indeed, Yosef’s greatness, materially and spiritually, was a result of his being brought down to Egypt, unlike beforehand, when he was still in Eretz Yisroel.

This is expressed in Yosef’s influence on all Israel: Even when the Jews came to Egypt, they received all their needs in abundance as a result of Yosef’s efforts, as stated “Yosef provided all the needs of his father and his brothers,” to the extent that Pharoah told them “the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.” Even more, the beginning of the Egyptian exile was when Yosef was brought down to Egypt — and the result of this descent was “they grew numerous, multiplied, and became exceedingly great.”

The above concept of Yosef lends a unique distinction to Simchas Bais Hashoeva. One may think that because Jews are still in exile — physically and spiritually — one cannot be so joyous. The example of Yosef teaches that even in exile, one cannot only receive all that he needs, but that specifically through exile one reaches an extremely high level. This is emphasized by the idea of Simchas Bais Hashoeva, from which, our Sages said, “Ruach Hakodesh (Divine Spirit) is drawn.” The Maggid explained that “Today, in the time of exile, it is easier to obtain ruach hakodesh than in the times of the Bais Hamikdosh.” Thus, as in the lesson from Yosef, we see that exile has a certain advantage.

The above unique aspect of Yosef is associated with the Rebbe Maharash’s unique contribution. The Rebbe Maharash’s famous dictum is that a Jew must conduct himself in the manner of “lechatchilah ariber” — aim for the top in the first place, transcending any obstacles. In other words, exile need not only not weaken a Jew’s service, but the reverse: it should transcend any obstacles, soaring above and beyond nature’s constraints (similar to Yosef). Moreover, the Rebbe Maharash stressed such a mode of service should not be one’s second choice (i.e. first act according to nature’s constraints, and only if that fails, go beyond), but it should be done “in the first place.”

We find such an attitude expressed in another of the Rebbe Maharash’s dictums, that one’s livelihood today is similar to the “manna,” bread from heaven,” meaning it comes in miraculous fashion — but because of the exile it is “subtly enclothed” in nature. Once again, we see the distinction of the era of exile compared to the times of the Bais Hamikdosh: In the latter, one’s livelihood could come also naturally; in exile, it is only through miraculous means.

Although we cannot perceive this, it only shows the greatness of the miracle — that it is so lofty that only G‑d recognizes it as such. This is alluded to in the Rebbe Maharash’s name, Shmuel, which means “I have asked him from G‑d.” On the one hand, this indicates a position remote from G‑dliness, for he is only “asked” from G‑d. On the other hand, even in such a state he is “from G‑d” — and such that it permeates every fibre of his being, even his mundane matters (for such was his name every moment of his life). Moreover, the Hebrew word for “asked” is “shaul,” which also has the meaning of “gift.” A gift provides satisfaction, in this case referring to G‑d’s satisfaction (“from G‑d”).

Thus we see the connection between tonight’s two “guests,” Yosef and the Rebbe Maharash. The idea of “lechatchilah ariber” (the concept expressed by the Rebbe Maharash) is the inner meaning of the concept expressed by Yosef — that even in the descent of exile one’s conduct is to “aim for the top in the first place, transcending any obstacles.”

But all is not clear: We are talking of “Yosef HaTzaddik,” to whom Ya’akov, the “most choice of the forefathers,” transmitted all his Torah to the extent that he surpassed all the other tribes. What connection can there be between Yosef and every Jew of our times?

However, all Jews are termed “Yosef,” as evidenced by the verse (Tehillim 80:2) “He leads Yosef like a flock.” Commentators explain that “Yosef” refers to all Jews, for he provided for and gave sustenance to all the Jews in Egypt. Therefore all Jews are called by Yosef’s name for all generations. It therefore follows that all of the concepts associated with Yosef are, in some degree, relevant to every Jew. Likewise, because the Rebbe Maharash was the leader of Israel, and “the leader is everything,” all the concepts associated with him are relevant to all Jewry.

3. The above is stressed in the daily portion of Chumash this year, which begins with the words (Devorim 33:13) “To Yosef he said.” The Talmud (Yevomos 97a) states: “When a statement of Torah scholars is made in their name in this world, their lips move gently in the grave.” Hence, when a Jew repeats Moshe’s words “To Yosef he said,” Moshe Rabbeinu’s lips move and once again say “To Yosef he said.” In other words, when a Jew bonds with the Torah, his Torah study is similar to the idea of “the Shechinah speaks from his throat.”

Just as Moshe’s original utterance of “To Yosef he said” give life to all those associated with the tribe of Yosef — in Moshe’s and all previous generations — so too, when a Jew learns the verse “To Yosef he said,” and thereby effects its repetition by Moshe, everything connected to the tribe of Yosef is effected once again for all Jews.

Besides the opening words of today’s portion of Chumash, its contents also reflect the above noted unique contribution of Yosef. The blessing to Yosef is “His land is a blessing of G‑d, with the sweetness of the heaven’s dew, and the waters that lie below.” This is unlimited goodness bestowed by G‑d, to the lowest levels — exile, as expressed in the conclusion of the daily portion, “They are the myriads of Ephraim and the thousands of Menasheh.” “Ephraim” ani “Menasheh” are names expressive of exile, for “Ephraim” was so named “because G‑d has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering” and “Menashe” — “because G‑d has made me forget all my troubles.”

In addition to the above, which is today’s unique service, extra strength is derived from today being the sixth day of Sukkos — the continuation of the previous five days, and the preparation to the seventh. Thus, the sixth day encompasses all the concepts of the previous five days, especially their “guests:” Avraham, Yitzchok, Ya’akov, Moshe and Aharon;” and the “Chassidic guests:” the Baal Shem Tov, Maggid, Alter Rebbe, Mitteler Rebbe, and the Tzemach Tzedek. In addition, today possesses its own concepts and “guests,” Yosef and the Rebbe Maharash.

Today contains the previous day’s aspects because the works of each of these “great luminaries” extend for all time, and are also expressed in the works of the succeeding leaders. One who “fills the place” of his predecessor “fills” all his predecessor’s works to the ultimate perfection — and even more, in a manner infinitely greater than did his predecessor himself! A heir not only inherits everything, but actually takes the place of his predecessor, such that the heir’s existence is that of his predecessor! Thus Yosef’s existence is that of the forefathers; the Rebbe Maharash’s existence is that of the Tzemach Tzedek, whose existence in turn is that of the Mitteler Rebbe, etc. — and therefore the Rebbe Maharash’s existence is also that of the Mitteler Rebbe, the Alter Rebbe, the Maggid and the Baal Shem Tov!

Furthermore, when a Jew fulfills Torah’s command to rejoice in Simchas Bais Hashoeva, together with the extra joy engendered by the “guests,” it becomes his joy to the extent that his whole existence is nothing but a “vessel” to Simchas Bais Hashoeva. And thus his existence also becomes that of the “guests,” the idea of “your sons shall be in the place of your fathers.”

Although this applies to every day of Sukkos — that each day is a continuation of the previous days and a preparation to the following days — it has special emphasis on the sixth day. It corresponds to the “sefirah” of Yesod, which encompasses all the revelations of the previous “sefiros” in order to transmit them to the “sefirah” of Malchus.

In practical terms: One must endeavor today (the sixth of Sukkos, the “guests” of which are Yosef and the Rebbe Maharash), to ensure that Simchas Bais Hashoeva reach every place, even to those Jews who are far away, both physically and spiritually — just as Yosef gave sustenance to all Jews. This is also the lesson derived from the third day of the week — “good for heaven and good for creatures:” to instill Simchas Bais Hashoeva even in those who are but “creatures,” to the extent that the joy reaches the public domain (as explained above). And as with all directives of Torah, the requisite strength to carry out those directives are given to each Jew.

Because “Yosef” means “addition,” a new concept should be added: tonight everyone should resolve to give extra tzedakah. For since “we await Your deliverance the whole day,” everyone must do their utmost to hasten the redemption. Tzedakah has the particular power to do this, as our Sages say (B. Basra 10a) “Great is tzedakah for it brings near the redemption.”

Furthermore, we explained above that today is the third day of the week, the idea of “good for heaven and good for creatures.” Service in these areas must be performed simultaneously, each action being both “good for heaven” and “good for creatures.” This is expressed in the mitzvah of tzedakah: It is obviously “good for creatures” and at the same time one fulfills G‑d’s commandment to give tzedakah (“good for heavens”). Moreover, the Alter Rebbe writes (Iggeres Hakodesh 17) that the mitzvah of tzedakah is “verily the commandment of G‑d” (in addition to all mitzvos being G‑d’s commandments) — which thus emphasizes its quality of “good for heaven.”