1. Tonight is Hosha’ana Rabbah, a night which is connected with one specific service — ‘Tikkun’ — involving the reading of Tehillim, the book of Devorim, and the recitation of passages of the Zohar. That service, particularly when it is carried out in a complete manner, takes up time. Hence, it is possible that one would think that there would not be as great an emphasis placed on holding Simchas Bais Hashoeva as there was on previous nights. It would seem that on previous nights, when there was no preoccupation with other matters, Simchas Bais Hashoeva would be appropriate, while on Hosha’ana Rabbah the opposite would be true.

However, before accepting a superficial observation we must at all times examine the motives behind our thoughts. There is a well known story about the Rebbe, Rav Hershel Tschernobler, (See Sefer HaSichos 5703, p. 67 for the details) which illustrates that the Yetzer Horah can very cleverly prevent one from performing a Mitzvah, with the rationalization that a second Mitzvah can be carried out. Hence, even though on Hosha’ana Rabbah it is customary — and “a custom of Israel is Torah” — to recite Tikkun, nonetheless, Simchas Bais Hashoeva can still be held. Just as no one missed dinner because they were preoccupied with preparations for Tikkun, similarly, Simchas Bais Hashoeva should not be negated. The rejoicing of Simchas Bais Hashoeva will not prevent one from reciting Devorim or Tehillim with the proper intention, nor from reading the passages of the Zohar with the proper feeling.

Hence, it is proper “to proceed higher in holy matters.” Just as on the second night of Sukkos the potential was granted for “advancing higher” than on the first night — and on the third night the potential was granted to “advance higher” than on the second night — surely it is also possible to make such an advance on Hosha’ana Rabbah.

However, on the surface, the two services seem contradictory. There is only a certain amount of time in the night; during the time when one is studying he cannot be rejoicing in Simchas Bais Hashoeva. (Though the study of Torah is also connected with joy, as the verse declares, “The precepts of the L‑rd are just, rejoicing the heart,” nevertheless, the rejoicing of Simchas Bais Hashoeva is of a greater degree. The Sages of the Talmud did not sit down and study Torah with the populace on Simchas Bais Hashoeva; rather, they sang and danced, as the Rambam [Hilchos Lulav Ch. 8:13-14] writes.)

However, as we can see from actual life, the amount of time which one spends rejoicing is not an exact barometer of the extent of one’s joy. Nor does it indicate the degree of happiness attained. It is possible to reach a higher level of happiness in a shorter amount of time than the level reached on another occasion which encompassed more time. It is possible for a small amount of time to contain much happiness. This is true in many instances involving our feelings, and it is particularly true regarding happiness, for, “joy breaks down barriers” — including the barriers and obstacles that are present in this matter.

Therefore, as Torah law brings out, the elevated nature of Hasha’ana Rabbah demands that the joy of the celebration of Simchas Bais Hashoeva tonight must be greater than that of the celebration of the previous nights. This is dependent on the service of the Jewish people. The Jews are called “Adam — man” — which is similar to the word “Adomah,” meaning, “to be like.” A Jew is “like the One above,” i.e., G‑d. Just as G‑d is unbounded and above all limitations (not only the limitations of this world, but also those of the spiritual worlds), similarly, a Jew possesses unbounded potential. Hence, it is possible to reach, in a short amount of time — a period much smaller than that devoted to Simchas Bais Hashoeva on previous nights — a very high level of joy.

The rejoicing of Hosha’ana Rabbah is intensified by the fact that it occurs on the night which follows the sixth day of Sukkos. It is, therefore, related to the Ushpizen (guest) of the sixth day, for in holy matters the night is related to the preceding day. That day was a Tuesday, a day symbolic of “good to the heavens,” and “good to the creatures.” The state of being these two phrases depict is a true state of peace. Our Sages stated, “if peace is here, everything is here.”

Thus, we proceed to the fourth day of the week — the day on which “the lights were hung, “ and the day of the birthday of the Baal Shem Tov and the Alter Rebbe. Both of these great men are connected with joy — the ultimate joy which will come about with the Messianic redemption, for it is through spreading the Wellsprings of Chassidus outward that the Moshiach will come.1

2. Furthermore, there is a unique lesson to be learned from the Ushpizen of Hosha’ana Rabbah. The Zohar, in its commentary on Parshas Emor,2 lists King Dovid as the Ushpizen on the seventh day of Sukkos. The Zohar, connects each Ushpizen with a particular verse. In David’s case the verse (Isaiah 54:17) is, “No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper.” King Dovid declares that every weapon that is formed to fight against Yiddishkeit, or against the Jewish people, will not prosper. Even though the weapon exists, it will not be successful. This verse gives us special encouragement not to be frightened by the stormy winds which threaten us and our Yiddishkeit.3 This verse is an eternal promise to the Jewish people from King Dovid, of whom it is said — “Dovid, King of Israel, is living and enduring.”4 This verse is particularly relevant to King Dovid for, as the Zohar declares, he possessed all weapons. It is he who declares, “No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper.”

The importance of Hosha’ana Rabbah is further accentuated by the statement in the Zohar on Parshas Pinchus. Here it is stated that the Ushpizen of Hosha’ana Rabbah is Shlomo (King Dovid is the guest of the sixth day. This does not conflict with the previous statement, for “these and these are the words of the living G‑d.”) Hence, on Hosha’ana Rabbah we feel the influence of both Dovid and Shlomo. This is related to the statement of the Rambam which says that Moshiach will be the descendant of both King Dovid and King Shlomo. The fact that the Moshiach will be a descendent of Shlomo is alluded to in Psalm 72, which begins, “To Shlomo, G‑d give the king your judgments,” and continues, “He[Moshiach] shall rule from sea to sea.” “May there be an abundance of grain in the land.”5 These verses are prophecies for the Messianic era. If we had so merited, they would have been fulfilled in the time of King Shlomo. However, for certain reasons they will not be fulfilled until the Messianic age. The fulfillment of the above prophecies is hastened by the service of Hosha’ana Rabbah which includes the recitation of the Book of Psalms. It is also related to the recitation of the Book of Devorim,6 which was recited by Moshe, of whom it is said — “He is the first redeemer; he is the last redeemer.”

The above is also related to the service of Sukkos which is characterized by the verse “and you shall rejoice before the L‑rd your G‑d for seven days.” The Rambam interprets this verse as an allusion to Simchas Bais Hashoeva. Following the principle “always proceed higher in matters of holiness” it is necessary to proceed from one night of Sukkos to the next, each night increasing one’s joy until, on the seventh day, the ultimate peak is reached.7 Therefore, in order to relate this to actual deed, we must celebrate Simchas Bais Hashoeva on Hosha’ana Rabbah. Furthermore, our feelings must not only be that the celebration must also take place on Hosha’ana Rabbah, but also that the joy on Hosha’ana Rabbah must exceed that of the first nights of Sukkos. It is not necessary that this celebration last a long time, or that it be carried out in a far-away place. It can be held in this Bais Midrash — or in the Sukkah — and extend into the street for only a short time, thus continuing the precedent set by previous nights in which the street, a public domain, was transformed into a private domain. Since it comes as a continuation of that of the previous nights, and since tonight is Hosha’ana Rabbah, it is possible that the celebration last only a few minutes — eighteen minutes, or even seven minutes — and yet it will have a continued effect.

Afterwards, we will proceed to say Tikkun, and those who can will not only say it, but learn it. This division of levels is similar to that which took place during Hakhel. Then, even someone who didn’t understand Hebrew was commanded to be present and listen to the Hakhel gathering. Furthermore, the experience of Hakhel affected him and caused him to fulfill “all the words of this Torah all the days which you are living on the land.” This applies to all the matters of the Hakhel year, particularly those relating to the holiday of Sukkos, at which time the Hakhel gathering was held. There is an opinion which maintains that anything which was lacking in the service of the first night could be compensated for in the service of the later days until the advent of the seventh day, Hosha’ana Rabbah. So may it be for us; and may we, through joy, complete all matters that might have been lacking in the previous days. May the experience reach men, women, and children and have a lasting effect upon them.

Also, this celebration will effect the general situation around us. Since the Jewish people try to live according to the Torah in its complete state — Torah without any changes or compromises — each law as it is written in Shulchan Aruch, including the laws of Hilchos Shabbos, chapter 329, and the laws of Mihu Yehudi — there will be a positive effect on the world’s general situation.

This can be accomplished through joy — making Jews happy on Hosha’ana Rabbah, and continuing to do so on Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah. This also includes the ten Mivtzoyim: Ahavas Yisroel, which includes the entire Torah; Chinuch — educating oneself and, in a proper and fitting manner, reaching out to educate others; Torah; Tefillin; Tzedakah; Mezuzah; Bayis Maley Seforim — Yavnah V’Chachomehah; Nairos Shabbos Kodesh; Kashrus; and Taharas HaMishpacha — the latter including the effort to “be fruitful and multiply and fill up the earth,” by having many children who are involved in Torah and Mitzvos.

This will hasten the Taharah (purification) of the entire Jewish people, as the Mishnah declares, “Happy are you, 0 Israel, [because of] before whom you became purified — before G‑d.” This will come about with the coming of Moshiach.