[The Rebbe Shlita opened the farbrengen by requesting that an announcement be made, asking everyone to wash for bread and say L’Chaim before sunset (after which the meal could not be continued because of the beginning of Shabbos). He reiterated his request.]

1. The Alter Rebbe declared (Likkutei Torah, Nitzavim) that the day referred to in the verse “you are all standing before the L‑rd, your G‑d” is Rosh Hashanah. Because the Jews are “standing... before G‑d,” oneness is established among them, unifying “your heads” with “your hewers of wood and drawers of water.”

On one hand, this unity results from the great spiritual influences revealed by G‑d at this time. (They are alluded to by the usage of the word “Nitzavim — standing” which is in passive rather than active form. Thus, Nitzavim literally means “made to stand” i.e. brought to this state by G‑d’s spiritual influences.) However, there is a need for effort and service on our part, for our natural tendency is to prefer something we have earned and worked for, as the Talmud (B. Metzia 38a) declares “a person prefers one Kab (measure) of his own to nine Kabbim of his friend’s.”1 That service is referred to in their explanation (Berachos 49a) of the blessing “Blessed are You G‑d, Who sanctifies Israel and the [festive] seasons.” They explain that “G‑d sanctifies Israel and they sanctify the festivals.” In addition, this service consists of joining together “as one man with one heart.” That unity should be expressed through physical means, through drinking wine together; as our Sages (Sanhedrin 103b) said, “of great [importance] is a mouthful [of food] for it draws people close.” In this manner, the concept of unity will become part of our flesh and blood. This is particularly true since our gathering is connected with Rosh Hashanah which is a festival and is specifically connected with “Drinking sweet beverages,” as well as “eating sumptuously;” for as the Book of Nechemiah (8:10) declares, “the joy of the L‑rd is your strength.” The fact that this year Rosh Hashanah begins a Hakhel year further intensifies the stress on unity.

From the above it should be obvious that now is the time for everyone to say L’Chaim, before sunset. it is not necessary to do so publicly. What is necessary is the actual deed, drinking a little Mashka or more preferably, wine. The latter “brings joy to G‑d and man” (Shoftim 9:13) causing happiness to be assimilated into our flesh and blood.

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2. The Ma’amar recited is discussed in the Ma’amarim of the Tzemach Tzedek. Rosh Hashanah is intrinsically connected to the Tzemach Tzedek who was born Erev Rosh Hashanah with his bris taking place in the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

On the occasion of his birth, the Alter Rebbe recited the Ma’amar “Mashbiyim Oso — The soul is given an oath” which later became the basis for the first three chapters of Tanya. That Ma’amar is relevant to the birth of every Jewish child, for every child is given the oath “Become a Tzaddik and don’t become a Rasha” before he is born. Similarly, it applies to Rosh Hashanah, for Rosh Hashanah marks the creation of Adorn, the first man. Similarly, each year on Rosh Hashanah the original pattern of creation is repeated and each Jew is born anew.2

During this year, the connection to the first Rosh Hashanah is intensified. According to the rules of the Jewish calendar, Rosh Hashanah can never occur on Sunday, Wednesday, or Friday.3 Hence, it is impossible for Rosh Hashanah to occur on a Friday as did the original Rosh Hashanah. However, in a year such as the present when Rosh Hashanah falls on Thursday, its second day is celebrated on Friday. Since the two days of Rosh Hashanah are considered one long day, it follows that there is a unique connection between our celebration of Rosh Hashanah this year and the original Rosh Hashanah. This is particularly true at the present time, the conclusion of the day, for Adorn was also created at the day’s close.

3. Rosh Hashanah is always celebrated for two days, even in Eretz Yisroel. Thus, it further emphasizes the concept of Jewish unity. A difference exists between the Jews of Israel and of those of the Diaspora in regard to the celebration of all other holidays and it is only in the case of Rosh Hashanah that their celebration is uniform.

Furthermore, there is an explicit mention of the second day of Rosh Hashanah in the Written Torah. The Book of Nechemiah4 relates that on the first day of the seventh month, the entire Jewish people assembled before Ezra, who read passages of the Torah to them. At the conclusion of the reading the Jewish people were told: “Go your way, eat sumptuously, drink sweet beverages, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy unto the L‑rd; do not be grieved, for the joy of the L‑rd is your strength” (8:10). The people followed the directive as the verse (12) states: “And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to celebrate with great joy.” The passage continues (13) “And on the second day...” which the commentaries (Rashi) explain to mean the second day of Rosh Hashanah (not the day after Rosh Hashanah). That passage continues, relating how “the chiefs of the fathers’ houses of all the people, the priests, and the Levi’im, were gathered to Ezra the scribe, in order to study the words of the Torah. (14) And they found written in the Torah which the L‑rd had commanded...that the children of Israel should dwell in Sukkos (booths) in the feast of the seventh month.” Ezra then commanded them (15) to “Go out to the mountain, and fetch olive branches, and branches of wild olive, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make Sukkos as it is written.” The people heeded his words, as the text (16) continues “So the people went out, and brought them, and made themselves Sukkos, everyone on the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of G‑d... (17) and their was great joy.”

Thus, the second day of Rosh Hashanah is connected to Sukkos. The firm decision accepted by the Jews on Rosh Hashanah was fulfilled on Sukkos.

The construction of Sukkos in the Temple courtyard is connected to a question raised in the responsa of the Geonim: Should a Sukkah be built outside a synagogue or not? On the surface, a Sukkah should only be built outside a private dwelling. The general principle “Dwell (in the Sukkah) as you live (in your house)” governs all laws concerning Sukkos. A synagogue is not a private dwelling and hence does not require a Sukkah. However, the responsa concludes that it is proper to build a Sukkah there for the use of guests. It supports its rationale with the above-mentioned quotation from Nechemiah and concludes: “and this is the custom.”

We can derive a lesson from the above. On the second day of Rosh Hashanah we must begin thinking, and also make firm resolutions, concerning the celebration of the festival of Sukkos, ensuring that it will be a time of great joy. Also, as mentioned in previous farbrengens and in previous years, provisions must be made to “send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared.” This will lead to the celebration of Sukkos with great joy which, in turn, will bring about the ultimate joy, the coming of the future redemption led by Moshiach. He will “build the Temple in its place” and “gather the dispersed of Israel.” He will perform the Mitzvah of Hakhel “collecting together the nation: men, women, children, and the stranger in your midst.” We will all be inscribed for a good and sweet year with open and revealed good.