1. Simchas Bais Hashoeva1 is celebrated every night of Sukkos. On Hosha’ana Rabbah, however, the joy of the celebration must be infinitely greater, as emphasized in its very name — “the Great Hosha’ana.” Likewise, additional prayers are said on this day.

There is a “Guest” every night of Sukkos.2 The “Guest” of Hosha’ana Rabbah is King Dovid, and the “Chassidic Guest” (B) is the Rebbe Rashab. The extra joy of Hosha’ana Rabbah is emphasized in the case of both these “Guests.” In the prayers of Hosha’ana Rabbah we say: “In the merit of he who exulted and danced and sang, who studied Torah with the accompaniment of musical instruments.” This refers to King Dovid, who is termed the ‘exultant one,’ because he exulted, sang to, and praised G‑d [See Shmuel II, 6:14-16]. Similarly, Scripture calls him “the sweet singer of Israel,” because of his psalms sung to G‑d in the name of all Israel. Song and psalms are associated with joy, as our Sages said: “We do not say Shirah (Song) except over wine” and the essence of wine is that it “makes joyous G‑d and man.”

Likewise, the Rebbe Rashab also has a special connection to joy. The previous Rebbe said (Likkutei Dibburim II, p. 296) that the Rebbe Rashab is the “Rambam of Chassidus.” The Rambam was the codifier of the exoteric part of Torah — he elicited the actual Halachah from all the different opinions and arguments in the Talmud. So too the Rebbe Rashab’s function in the esoteric part of Torah, in Chassidus: In the Chassidus of the Alter Rebbe, the Mitteler Rebbe and the Tzemach Tzedek, many differing opinions are brought on various concepts. The Rebbe Rashab brings the final decision and result, similar to the Rambam’s work of rendering the final Halachic decision (in the exoteric). The elucidation and clarification of a subject causes great joy, as seen in the saying “There is no greater joy than the elimination of doubts.”

This is also associated with King Dovid. A King is the final arbiter, the one who lays down the actual law. A king’s counselors can offer up different opinions; but the king’s word is that which decides the issue in regard to actual deed. For while a king may take counsel with his advisors, as we find in the case of King Dovid that he would discuss Torah matters with the members of the Sanhedrin, this is not his main function. The function of a true king of Israel is to render decisions affecting actual conduct. Hence we see the connection between the two “Guests” of Hosha’ana Rabbah, King Dovid and the Rebbe Rashab; both of them were engaged in elucidating and rendering decisions in actual practice.

2. The idea of joy is stressed in the daily portion of this week’s parshah, Berachah. It begins (Devorim 33:8) “And of Levi he said.” Just as King Dovid is called ‘the exultant one’ and ‘the sweet singer of Israel,’ because he sang to G‑d, so too Leviim are associated with joy. Their service in the Bais Hamikdosh was to sing and to praise G‑d, effecting joy in the Bais Hamikdosh. In addition, further on in the daily portion (33:10) it states: “They shall teach Your ordinances to Ya’akov and Your Torah to Yisroel.” To truly ‘teach’ means to inform Jews of the decisions, the clear-cut Halachah; and as explained above, this brings great joy.

The connection of Levi with joy is emphasized even more in the light of the teachings of Chassidus on Levi’s G‑dly service. It is explained in Torah Or (parshas Vayechi), that Reuven’s service is on the level of ‘seeing,’ Shimon’s on the level of ‘hearing,’ and Levi’s is union with G‑d. Through Torah, Jews and G‑d become one. Levi’s service is the self-nullification of one’s own will, to the extent of self-sacrifice (33:9, Rashi). Through such self-nullification one’s union with G‑d reaches its peak of perfection.

Such a form of service is expressed in the study of Torah aimed at deriving the actual Halachah. When Torah is learned in the form of dialectics, questions and answers, differing opinions — “these and these are the words of the living G‑d” — the Torah study is not perfect, for one does still not know how to behave in actual deed. The peak of perfection is when one achieves union with G‑d: “G‑d is with him — the Halachah is as his opinion.” That is, when one elucidates the actual Halachah.

As explained on the previous nights of Sukkos,3 although Simchas Bais Hashoeva was celebrated in the Bais Hamikdosh, it illuminated the entire surroundings. Furthermore, although Simchas Bais Hashoeva was celebrated in the times of the Bais Hamikdosh, and now we are in exile, nevertheless, the joy then still affects and illuminates today. Indeed, consonant with the rule that “one always rises higher in holiness,” the joy today is greater than in those times; especially since greater light comes from prior darkness.

This is similar to the idea that Chassidus was spread precisely in our generation, starting from the time of the Arizal, and especially after the revelation of Chassidus Chabad in a framework of comprehension and understanding. This ensured that all of a person should be permeated with Chassidus, to the extent that when one dances, he dances with “Chassidishe’ feet.

When Simchas Bais Hashoeva is celebrated in this world, in the darkness of exile, it causes great joy above, in all the upper supernal worlds. The verse “Know that which is above you” is interpreted to mean “Know that which is above — is from you,” meaning that all that happens above in the upper spheres, is “from you,” dependent upon man’s service. Hence, the great joy in this world causes great joy Above, reaching beyond all limits. From there G‑d’s blessing comes down to us for all things, including children, life and ample livelihood.

3. The celebration of Simchas Bais Hashoeva must be in loftier fashion each successive night of Sukkos. It is then the proper preparation to Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah, the joy of which is exceedingly great. Since Simchas Bais Hashoeva on Sukkos is the preparation (cause) to Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah (the effect), then, as in all cases of cause and effect, the cause is potentially greater, for the effect is but a result of the cause. So too in this case, the joy of Simchas Bais Hashoeva, as the cause to the joy of Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah, is exceedingly great.

Since Simchas Bais Hashoeva is the preparation and cause to the joy of Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah; and the joy of Simchas Torah is connected with the idea of Torah — it is now the appropriate time to once again encourage and urge everyone to unite all Jews through each one purchasing a letter in a Sefer Torah.

The idea of this is not that people can thereby fulfill the mitzvah of writing a Sefer Torah for oneself. The idea of this Sefer Torah is to unite all Jews in an eternal bond. Hence, unlike fulfilling the mitzvah of writing a Sefer Torah, where it is better if the individual who wishes to perform this mitzvah pays the entire cost himself (and since it is very expensive it has become customary that more than one person combine together to share the cost) — in this case, the more people who participate the better. The aim of this Sefer Torah is to unite each and every Jew into one entity. Thus the more people who participate in the writing of each Sefer Torah (through buying a letter), the more Jews are united. A Sefer Torah contains 304,805 letters, and therefore hundreds and thousands of Jews can participate in one Sefer Torah.

Furthermore, since there are different customs in the exact configuration of the letters, Ashkenazic, Sefardic, Lurianic etc., — “and these and these are the words of the living G‑d” — more than one Sefer Torah should be written according to the different customs. (Children can also participate in these Sifrei Torah.)

The auspicious time of Hosha’ana Rabbah is the appropriate time to make good resolutions in the Sefer Torah campaign. Each person must endeavor to do everything possible to ensure that all Jews are united through participating in the writing of a Sefer Torah. Each extra Jew who purchases a letter adds greater perfection to the entire Sefer Torah, for a Sefer Torah is only complete when all the letters are present.

4. Now is also the place to talk of the idea of the ‘whole land’ (that all of Eretz Yisroel belongs to Jews). Although the Yetzer Hora (the Evil Inclination) “contrives schemes” to do things against a person’s true will — in this case to give back parts of “the land which... the eyes of the L‑rd your G‑d are on it from the beginning of the year until the end of the year” — such schemes “will be foiled. And (it may) conspire a plot but it will not materialize, for G‑d is with us!”

In other words, all undesirable things in the past are null and void. Hence, although Jews are in exile, their situation is such that “all the Jews had light in their dwelling places.” Even while still in the darkness of exile, we celebrate Simchas Bais Hashoeva with boundless joy.

We are in the time of celebration of Simchas Bais Hashoeva, with King Dovid as the ‘Guest.’ Of him it states: ‘King Dovid is alive and endures’ (even now), and he is King of all Israel. We will surely see the end of the exile very soon, and go to welcome our righteous Moshiach. We will go together with the complete Sifrei Torah, together with all Jews who have participated in their writing, and together with those who will participate after Moshiach’s coming. For since these Sifrei Torah have already been started, then, even when Moshiach comes before they are finished, they will surely be completed after his coming. The entire Sefer Torah is encompassed in the ‘potential’ of the beginning of the Sefer Torah, the letter ‘Bais’ of the first word “Bereishis” (‘In the beginning’). Hence, those who will participate after Moshiach’s coming, are also associated with these Sifrei Torah, since the entire Sefer Torah is encompassed in its beginning.

When all Jews are united, they are assured of the fulfillment of the promise “Bless us our Father ... in the light of Your countenance.” The meaning of “in the light of the countenance of the living king” refers to the life in this world, and in the world to come. Especially since both of today’s ‘Guests’ have a connection to life in this world. Of King Dovid it states: ‘King David lives and endures,” even now. And the Rebbe Rashab, before he passed away, said: ‘I am going to Heaven, and (my) writings I leave to you.” That is, through learning the Rebbe Rashab’s works, we are united with him.