1. Although in the times of the Bais Hamikdosh the “Simchas Bais Hashoeva — Celebration of the Water Drawing”1 started on the night following the first day of Sukkos, in the time of exile it starts on the first night itself.2 Whilst all Yomim Tovim are termed “festivals of our rejoicing,” Sukkos, in which wecelebrate Simchas Bais Hashoeva, has a special emphasis on joy. So much so, that in our prayers, Sukkos is referred to as “the season of our rejoicings.” This joy extends to every moment of Sukkos, including Chol HaMoed (the intermediate days of the festival). In addition, the Simchas Bais Hashoeva adds extra joy to Sukkos, as our Sages have said “Whosoever has not witnessed the Simchas Bais Hashoeva has not witnessed true joy in his life.”

Simchas Bais Hashoeva is associated with the drawing of water — “You shall draw water in gladness.” The joy of the wine libation3 is associated with something that naturally causes joy; for wine gladdens the heart and brings happiness. Water however, has no such properties, and thus the joy of the water libation does not come naturally, but only because so G‑d has commanded — and is therefore higher than nature. Hence, so that one may fulfill the directive “You shall draw water with gladness,” — although water in its nature does not produce joy — one needs special strength that stems from a source higher than nature. And this is the greatness of Simchas Bais Hashoeva.

Even further: Normally, the “joy of a mitzvah” is operative when the mitzvah is actually being performed. But the Simchas Bais Hashoeva is operative in the preparation to the mitzvah. The actual mitzvah is the water libation — which took place during the day; the preparation to this was the drawing of the water which took place on the preceding night. Hence the celebration of this water drawing (Simchas Bais Hashoeva) was at the time of preparation to the mitzvah and not the actual mitzvah itself4 — and yet was still performed with great joy. And, as explained before, just as special strength is needed for a joy that does not stem from natural reasons — so too special strength is needed for joy at the time of preparation to the mitzvah.

Since G‑d does demand such joy, it is evident that He surely gives us the necessary strength. Such is the directive of Torah, which, being from G‑d Who is “the L‑rd G‑d of Truth,” is the “Torah of Truth.” This Torah is given to the children of Yisroel, whose task is to reveal the truth in the world. And the true existence of the world is G‑dliness, as the Baal Shem Tov taught, that the world is being continually created ex nihilo through the “word of G‑d.” However, since the truth about the world is concealed, a superficial look seems to indicate that the world is a self-sustaining existence, without any G‑dly Providence. The task of the Jew is to reveal the truth — to show clearly that the true existence of the world is indeed G‑dliness.

Such is the Jew’s task a whole year. Certainly then, on special days, the Yomim Tovim, (literally meaning “Good Days,” days of light and revelation) the Jew is given special strength to fulfill his task and mission of revealing the truth.

And among the Yomim Tovim themselves, the “season of our rejoicing” receives special strength to fulfill this hardest of all tasks — to reveal truth in a world that was created in a fashion of concealment.

The concept of Simchas Bais Hashoeva exists not just in a synagogue and in a Jew’s personal domain, but must extend also outside. In the Bais Hamikdosh, the Simchas Bais Hashoeva was not celebrated in the Holy of Holies, or even in the Hechal, but in the Ezras Noshim — the Women’s Enclosure in the Bais Hamikdosh.5 The Ezras Noshim was the section of the Bais Hamikdosh closest to the outside, and as such, was the connection between the Bais Hamikdosh and the world. And even there, the light from the torches that were lit at the Simchas Bais Hashoeva illuminated all the surrounding environs of Yerushalayim.

Although the Bais Hamikdosh is destroyed, only the physical has gone, whereas the spiritual Bais Hamikdosh remains intact and complete for every Jew. Indeed, since we no longer have the physical Bais Hamikdosh, a Jew is given special strength in matters concerning the spiritual Bais Hamikdosh, thus negating any adverse effects on his spiritual service that could have come from the physical destruction. Hence, although the Bais Hamikdosh is destroyed, a Jew must still celebrate Simchas Bais Hashoeva in his spiritual Bais Hamikdosh, rejoicing with simple joy. And, as in the Bais Hamikdosh, although the joy emanated from the Ezras Noshim, the goal is for that joy to permeate and illuminate one’s environs and the entire world.

2. The above applies every year. This year however has a special lesson to be derived from the day of the week in which Sukkos falls. The first day of Sukkos is Tuesday, the third day of the week, about which Scripture states (concerning the third day of creation) “It was good” twice. Hence, the idea of “good” — joy and radiance — must be doubled.

Our Sages have commented that the repetition of the words “it was good” indicate “good for heaven and good for creatures” — and hence Simchas Bais Hashoeva must be in the manner of “good for heaven” and in the manner of “good for creatures;” in other words, in regard to G‑d (“heaven”) and in regard to one’s fellow man (“creatures”). In a person’s own service one also has two components: “Good for heaven” refers to the service of Torah study and performance of mitzvos; “good for creatures” refers to the service in matters that are not obligatory — that one should serve G‑d even in things that are not obligated on a person by Torah. As our Sages have said: “All your deeds should be for the sake of heaven” and “In all your ways you should know Him.”

The concept of “good for heaven and good for creatures” is emphasized in the meaning of the words “the season for our rejoicings.” Chassidus explains that the plural “rejoicings” refers to two types of rejoicing: “Let Yisroel rejoice in their Maker” and “Let the L‑rd rejoice in His works.” Yisroel’s rejoicing in their Maker — G‑d, is the idea of “good for heaven”; G‑d’s rejoicing in His works — Yisroel, who is the goal of all creation, is the idea of “good for creatures.”

“Good for heaven and good for creatures” on the third day means that every moment of the third day is composed of both these things.6 And so too in regards to “the season of our rejoicings”: both types of joy enumerated above are present in every moment of “the season of our rejoicings.”7

The concept of “good for creatures” is stressed in hospitality, which is present on Yom Tov even more so than on Shabbos. Especially so on Sukkos, where the idea of the “Ushpizen — Guests” is emphasized: guests in the plain literal sense; and the spiritual “guests” mentioned in the Zohar8Avraham, Yitzchok, Ya’akov, Moshe, Aharon, Yosef, and David. And as the previous Rebbe explained, there are also the “Chassidic Guests” — the Baal Shem Tov, Mezritcher Maggid, Alter Rebbe, Mitteler Rebbe, Tzemach Tzedek, Rebbe Maharash, and the Rebbe Rashab. These “Chassidic Guests” are not separate or additional to the “Guests” mentioned in the Zohar (Avraham, Yitzchok etc.), but rather, the Guests mentioned in the Zohar are revealed and brought down through the “Chassidic Guests.”

The idea of these “Guests” is to learn a lesson from them every day (of Sukkos) in service to G‑d for the entire year. On the first day of Sukkos, the (main) “Guest” is Avraham, and of the “Chassidic Guests” it is the Baal Shem Tov.

3. The concept elaborated on above, that the joy of Simchas Bais Hashoeva must affect the outside environment, and as especially stressed this year, when the first day of Sukkos is on Tuesday, the third day, when “it was good” was said twice — “good for heaven and good for creatures” — is also emphasized in today’s portion of the weekly parshah. It begins with the words: “And of Levi he said:... They shall teach Your laws to Ya’akov and Your Torah to Yisroel.” The function of the tribe of Levi was to teach the Jews the Torah and its mitzvos — the idea of spreading Judaism and Chassidus (“good for creatures”). The Rambam writes that “Not only (those from the) tribe of Levi, but every person... whose spirit prompts him... to stand before G‑d to serve Him...” Hence, when a Jew dedicates himself to spread the light of Torah and Judaism, he is included in the category of the tribe of Levi, and his task and mission is “They shall teach Your laws to Ya’akov and Your Torah to Yisroel.”

One does this with joy and a good heart, derived from the joy of “the season of our rejoicings.” And this year the joy should be greater than previous years, beginning with the first day of Sukkos, and increasing therein everyday. This joy is then extended to the whole year, making it a “year of joy,” until we reach the peak of joy — “Then our mouth will be filled with laughter,” in the true and complete redemption through our righteous Moshiach, speedily in our times.