The Eve of the Festival of Sukkos,
5711 [1950]
Brooklyn, N.Y.

At1 the end of the maamar that appears in this Kuntreis,2 it is explained that on Shemini Atzeres all the lights and comprehensive revelations that were elicited in the course of the month of Tishrei are gathered in, integrated, kept and properly sown, so that they will sprout plentifully.

It is stated even more explicitly elsewhere3 that “the month of Tishrei is the comprehensive head of all the months. It includes days that are roots and sources for the entire year: Rosh HaShanah is the root and source of the awe of G‑d that Jews then receive for the whole year; Yom Kippur is the root and source of teshuvah and forgiveness and pardon; the seven4 days of Sukkos are the root and source of the love of G‑d and the root and source of joy for the whole year. And even more comprehensive than all these days is Simchas Torah, which comprises the whole month of Tishrei, for what is elicited on that day is the all-embracing Supernal makkif,5 which is known as ‘the King’s own delights,’6 the ‘Crown7 of the Torah.’8 This revelation is drawn downward on Simchas Torah by dancing [with the Torah], and this transcends by far the limits of mortal understanding.”

As is discussed in the above maamar, this joy relates simply to the letters of the Torah [rather than to its concepts], for in the study of the Torah’s letters, with their vocalization points and cantillation symbols, all Jews are equal. On this day, therefore, joy is expressed through dancing: it reaches down to the lowest of the soul’s faculties and to the lowest of the limbs, namely, the feet.

There is a well-known teaching of the Rebbe Rashab, that after Simchas Torah comes the time for the avodah alluded to in the verse,9 ויעקב הלך לדרכו - “And Yaakov went on his way.”10 This is the way of G‑d, the path of the Torah and the mitzvos. My revered father-in-law, the Rebbe [Rayatz], once illustrated this11 by an analogy relating to Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah. At the fair a man buys up merchandise, and when he arrives home - throughout the year - he unpacks his bundles and puts their contents to good use.

This is just what happens with every individual Jew. During [Tishrei,] the seventh month, which is sated12 with everything good,13 they and we are given enough “merchandise” to support us for a whole year - but later one must open up and unpack the bundles, and put the merchandise to good use.

My revered father-in-law, the Rebbe [Rayatz] - citing his father, the Rebbe Rashab - earnestly taught14 that the forty-eight hours of Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah should be dearly cherished, for at each moment one can draw bucketsful and barrelsful of treasures both material and spiritual, and this is accomplished by dancing.

Menachem Schneerson