1. Although in the times of the Bais Hamikdosh, Simchas Bais Hashoeva (Festival of the Water Drawing)1 was not celebrated on the night of Shabbos (i.e. Friday night), in the time of exile it is celebrated every night of Sukkos, including Shabbos.2 We find a similar case in the sacrificial service: In the times of the Bais Hamikdosh, the sacrifices were offered specifically by the Kohanim (priests). In exile, our prayers are the substitute for sacrifices, and these are said by all Jews. So too with Simchas Bais Hashoeva, which was celebrated in the Bais Hamikdosh. Today, although the actual physical Bais Hamikdosh is destroyed, the spiritual Bais Hamikdosh still exists. It is the Bais Haknesses (synagogue) and Bais Hamedrash (study hall), each of which are termed a “miniature Bais Hamikdosh;” it is the home of each Jew; and it is also found within each Jew’s heart, about which it is stated: “I will dwell within them — within each and every one.” In the spiritual Bais Hamikdosh in the time of exile Simchas Bais Hashoeva is celebrated every night of Sukkos.

Each successive night of Sukkos possesses a new additional quality of joy not present in the previous night. Therefore, each night’s joy must be infinitely greater and loftier than the preceding one.3 The additional joy present in Simchas Bais Hashoeva due to Shabbos is evident. Shabbos, unlike weekdays, has an inherent quality of joy. For example, during the ‘seven days of feasting’ that follow a wedding, “Sheva Berachos — seven blessings” are recited at each of these festive meals. But, to be able to recite these blessings, a “new face” (i.e. a new person), who was not at any of the preceding festive meals, must be present. For the “seven blessings” may be said only when additional joy is present — which is achieved through having a “new face.”4 On Shabbos however, this requirement is not necessary; for the face of each of the participants in the festive meal (even those who had participated in previous meals) is a “new face,” acquired from the sanctity of Shabbos — and hence additional joy is automatically present. Thus we see that on Shabbos (in Sukkos) we must have extra joy in the celebration of Simchas Bais Hashoeva.

Indeed, the general concept of Simchas Bais Hashoeva has a special correlation to Shabbos. Simchas Bais Hashoeva is the celebration of the water drawing — “You shall draw water with joy.” The difference between the water libation5 and the regular wine libation, is that wine corresponds to the level of Binah, Understanding — cogitation, elucidation, expansion. Water corresponds to the level of Chochmah, Wisdom — higher than elucidation and cogitation, the seminal idea not yet elucidated on, or properly understood. Since Simchas Bais Hashoeva is the celebration of the water drawing, it too pertains to the level of Chochmah. Shabbos is called the “holy Shabbos” — “You shall guard the Shabbos for it is holy.” “Holy” is the level of Chochmah, and thus there is a unique correlation between Shabbos and Simchas Bais Hashoeva, for both are of the level of Chochmah.

Seven “Guests” visit on Sukkos6Avraham, Yitzchok, Ya’akov, Moshe, Aharon, Yosef and Dovid (and sometimes Shlomo is also counted). In addition, there are seven “Chassidic Guests” — the Baal Shem Tov, Maggid, Alter Rebbe, Mitteler Rebbe, Tzemach Tzedek, Rebbe Maharash, and Rebbe Rashab. The “Guests” of today, the fifth day of Sukkos, are Aharon and the Tzemach Tzedek. The Tzemach Tzedek, on the connection between Simchas Bais Hashoeva and the level of Chochmah, gives the following novel dissertation:

The difference between wine and water is that wine is the level of Binah, the quintessence of which is revelation — “when wine enters (a person), secrets come forth.” Wine is associated with joy, as it is stated concerning wine: “It gladdens G‑d and men.” Likewise, our Sages say: “There is no joy except with wine.” The level of Binah is also associated with joy, as stated: “A joyful mother of children.”7

Water is the level of Chochmah, higher than revelation. Even when the level of Chochmah approaches revelation, it is only a seminal point, an “intuitive flash.”

The verse states: “You shall draw water with joy.” As explained above, “water” is the level of Chochmah, which is higher than revelation. Joy is connected specifically with wine and the level of Binah — which are the concepts of revelation. Hence, “you shall draw water with joy” means that despite the level of Chochmah being essentially above revelation, in this case, it is revealed. Or to put it another way, the revelation of the level Chochmah causes that “You shall draw water with joy.”

In other words, the command “You shall draw water with joy” is usually understood to mean that it is a service that must be performed purely out of submission to the Divine Will (i.e. higher than revelation). For since water has no intrinsic connection with joy (unlike wine), the only way a directive such as “You shall draw water with joy” can be fulfilled is simply because so G‑d has commanded (and therefore given the strength to do so).

The Tzemach Tzedek however, in his above dissertation has added a new dimension to this. He explains that “You shall draw water with joy” is accomplished, not just through submission to the Divine will, but through the revelation of the level of Chochmah — although usually this level is essentially above revelation. Nevertheless, this level is revealed, and thus “You shall draw water with joy” is fulfilled. For just as joy stems from the revelation of the level of Binah, so too it stems from the revelation of the level of Chochmah — and hence the joy is not purely in the manner of simple submission to the Divine will.

Indeed, the joy stemming from the revelation of Chochmah is greater than that from Binah. For the level of Binah itself is very closely allied to revelation — and there is no surprise in having that level revealed. Chochmah however, is completely above revelation — and therefore there is great joy when it is revealed. Hence, it is precisely about the Simchas Bais Hashoeva that our Sages said: “Whoever has not seen the joy of Simchas Bais Hashoeva has never seen joy in his life.”

This clarifies the greatness of Simchas Bais Hashoeva on Shabbos, above and beyond that of the previous nights. For Shabbos is associated with the level of Chochmah — similar to Simchas Bais Hashoeva.

The above explanation of the greatness of Simchas Bais Hashoeva is not always understood by all. And since, as the Rambam writes, “All the people, all the men and women” participated in the Simchas Bais Hashoeva, it must be understood by all. As indeed it can. For every Jew knows and feels that on Shabbos he is on a loftier plateau than on weekday, since he refrains from all weekday work. This loftiness is openly seen in all aspects — wearing special Shabbos clothes, eating and drinking sumptuously etc. Shabbos is even greater than Yom Tov, for whilst on Yom Tov one is permitted to do work associated with food, on Shabbos, due to its loftier status, all types of work are forbidden — including that associated with food. Hence, it is readily seen that the joy of Simchas Bais Hashoeva on Shabbos is greater than that of the preceding nights.8

2. There is a lesson to be learned regarding Simchas Bais Hashoeva from the daily portion of the weekly parshah. Today, Shabbos, we learn the seventh and last portion of parshas Berachah. Since it is Friday night, the beginning of Shabbos, of special relevance is the beginning words of this portion.

They are (Devorim 34:1): “And Moshe went up (from the plains of Moab to Mt. Nevo)...” This year, this portion is learned on the fifth day of Sukkos, whose “Guest” is Aharon. How is this compatible with its beginning words “And Moshe went up (who was yesterday’s “Guest”)?

Even more perplexing is that in today’s portion it states (34:4): “And the L‑rd said to him: This is the land which I swore to Avraham, to Yitzchok, and to Ya’akov...” The order of the “Guests” is Avraham, Yitzchok, Ya’akov, Moshe, Aharon, etc. We see then, that in this portion whilst all of the preceding nights’ “Guests” are mentioned, that of tonight, Aharon, is omitted?!

However, we do find that Rashi, whose commentary (also) contains the esoteric, does mention Aharon specifically. On the verse (34:8) “And the sons of Yisroel wept for Moshe” Rashi comments: “The males (alone wept). But for Aharon, since he pursued peace and made peace between man and his neighbor, and between husband and wife, it is stated ‘All the house of Yisroel wept’ — male and female.” So we see that in today’s portion Aharon, today’s ‘Guest,’ is mentioned (in Rashi).

Nevertheless all is not clear. Why is Aharon mentioned only in Rashi, while the other ‘Guests’ of the preceding days are openly mentioned in Scripture? Furthermore, this parshah tells of the greatness of Moshe Rabbeinu — “There has not arisen a prophet since in Israel as Moshe, whom the L‑rd knew face to face.” If so, why does Rashi choose this parshah specifically to explain the greatness of Aharon compared to Moshe (in the quality of Ahavas Yisroel — love of a fellow Jew)?

True, in order to teach Jews the proper way to behave in Ahavas Yisroel, we must know the greatness of Aharon compared to Moshe — to teach us to behave as Aharon specifically. For notwithstanding the greatness of Moshe in all things, (including Ahavas Yisroel), Aharon, in the quality of Ahavas Yisroel, was loftier still. Nevertheless, the Torah could have taught us this in a number of places. Why does it choose to do so in the parshah which talks of Moshe’s greatness?

The explanation is as follows: Aharon was the one who lit the Menorah. Chassidus explains that the Menorah symbolizes the general souls of Israel, containing seven lights symbolizing seven levels of service of G‑d. Aharon lit the seven lights of the Menorah, igniting a burning love of Jews to G‑d. Moshe’s soul is included in the ‘seven lights,’ and just as Aharon elevated all Jewish souls (including his own), so too did he elevate Moshe Rabbeinu’s.

Likewise, the service of Yom Kippur could be performed only by the Kohen Godol (Aharon). All the lofty things effected on Yom Kippur through Aharon’s service affected Moshe Rabbeinu also. Indeed, everything effected by the service of the Kohanim (e.g. the service of the sacrifices), was not just for other Jews, but also for Moshe [notwithstanding how great Moshe was of his own accord].

The difference between the service of Moshe and that of Aharon, is that Moshe Rabbeinu’s service was to draw from that above to below. “Moshe received the Torah from Sinai and passed it on...” to all Jews — the drawing down of the Torah from above to below to all Jews. Aharon’s service was the elevation of that which is below to above. This is emphasized in the service of the sacrifices, wherein a physical animal is made “holy” by sacrificing it on the altar and thus causing a “pleasant fragrance to G‑d.” In other words, the sacrifices were the elevation of that below — the physical, to the loftiest heights — to cause it to be a “pleasant fragrance to G‑d.” In man’s service this is prayer — ”prayer was instituted as a substitute for the sacrifices.”

Although Moshe’s service in general was the drawing down from above to below, today’s portion of the Torah emphasizes the concept of “And Moshe went up” — Moshe’s elevation from below to above, “from the plains of Moav to Mt. Nevo.” Moshe’s ascent to Mt. Nevo was not similar to his ascent to Mt. Sinai, for in the latter case the purpose was to bring down the Torah from above to below — “I stand between the L‑rd your G‑d and you to tell you the word of G‑d.” The ascent to Mt. Nevo was an ascension in which he passed away. Chassidus explains that only at the time of his passing away did Moshe ascend to the level of comprehension of the fiftieth ‘gate of understanding.’ ‘Nevo’ in Hebrew can be divided into ‘Nun-bo’ — ‘fifty in it.’ During his lifetime he only reached the 49th gate of understanding. At the time of his passing away “Moshe ascended...to Mt. Nevo” — he ascended to the level of completion of the fiftieth ‘gate of understanding.’

This was the contribution and effect of Aharon to the service of Moshe Rabbeinu. Although all his life Moshe’s service was in the mode of drawing down from above to below, Aharon’s mode of service of elevation of that below to above affected Moshe’s service. Hence, at the time of Moshe’s passing away, it was “And Moshe went up...to Mt. Nevo” through the contribution and work of Aharon.

Thus the general content of this parshah does speak of Aharon’s greatness, compatible to him being the “guest” of today. For the idea of “Moshe went up” was effected through Aharon. And just as Aharon effected in Moshe the general idea of his service of elevation of the lower to above, so too did he effect his mode of Ahavas Yisroel in Moshe.

The difference between the service of Moshe and that of Aharon is expressed in the difference between the sixth day of the week, Friday, (whose “Guest” is Moshe) and Shabbos (whose “Guest” is Aharon). The sixth day is associated with Torah, which was given on the sixth day of Sivan. About the sixth day of creation it states: “There was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.” Our Sages comment that the definitive “the” refers to “the special sixth day, the day of Mattan Torah” — for the sixth day, the finish of creation, is dependent upon the sixth day of Sivan on which the Torah was given. In other words, the world was assured of its continuing existence when the Torah was given.

Therefore Moshe Rabbeinu is the “guest” of the sixth day of the week, Friday, for it is connected to Mattan Torah, which is intimately associated with Moshe — “Moshe commanded us Torah.” Aharon is the ‘guest’ on Shabbos, for the service of Shabbos is prayer. Prayer is elevation from below to above — the service of Aharon.

Nevertheless, the concept of Moshe is stressed also on Shabbos, when we read the portion of “Moshe went up.” For every Torah sage is referred to by the name Moshe; and a sage is called ‘Shabbos.’ And, as explained before, Shabbos is called ‘holy,’ the level of Chochmah — the general idea of Torah — which was given by Moshe Rabbeinu.

The effect of Aharon on Moshe’s service in the quality of Ahavas Yisroel is connected with the recent project of uniting all Jews through buying letters in a Sefer Torah. This project unites the two services of Moshe and Aharon: the unity of Jews (Ahavas Yisroel) — the concept of Aharon, through writing a Sefer Torah — the concept of Moshe.

May it be G‑d’s will that the promise “those who lie in the dust will rise and rejoice” “and Moshe and Aharon with them,” very soon be fulfilled. May we soon merit to learn the Torah of Moshiach from Moshiach, who is associated with Moshe — “the first redeemer is the last redeemer.” Prior to Moshiach’s coming, Eliyahu Hanavi will come, “the bringer of good tidings,” who is associated with Aharon — for according to one opinion Eliyahu Hanavi is a Kohen.

Through the service of Jews we merit the true and complete redemption through our righteous Moshiach, when we will have the revelation of the “fiftieth gate” of understanding — very quickly in our times, with complete joy.