On Sukkot: Surrounded and Filled with Faith

The following is a translation of Reb Zalman’s text “On Sukkot” from his Sefer, Yishmiru Daat.  The Hebrew/English version is at the bottom.  Chag Sameach, Gabbai Seth Fishman, BLOG Editor

And on Sukkot, the Sefirah of Tiferet lights up.  Tiferet is associated with Yaakov, olav hashalom.

[The following is the scriptural basis for this association.  Gabbai Seth]

(Genesis 33:17) “And for his cattle, he made Sukkot / booths.” 

And the Supernal Guests visit us each of the seven days the Sukkah structure stands,

[Every night, a different guest as follows.  Male:  1- Avraham (Chesed), 2- Yitzchak (Gevurah), 3- Yaakov (Tiferet), 4- Moshe (Netzach), 5- Aharon (Hod), 6- Yosef (Yesod), 7- David (Malchut).  Female:  1- Miriam (Chesed), 2- Leah (Gevurah), 3- Hannah (Tiferet), 4- Rivka (Netzach), 5- Sarah (Hod), 6- Tamar (Yesod) and 7- Rachel (Malchut).]

as Yaakov grows up into Yisrael Saba, (Zohar I, 236).

[Yaakov was renamed to Yisrael.  The term, Yisrael Saba / grandfather Israel, refers to that aspect of Chochmah which we can access.  Chochmah is way at the top of the tree and has another aspect that is beyond our access.  From the Baumann text:  “Each and every partzuf / interface to God is divided into two levels…  Partzuf Abba / father is divided into Chochmah and Yisrael Saba.”  Think of Yisrael Saba as the exterior of the Sefirah of Chochmah.]

During the period, all the Sefirot of Z’er Anpin

[Z’er Anpin / the short face refers to the following six Sefirot:  Chesed, Gevurah, Tiferet, Netzach, Hod and Yesod.  These six are associated with the Vav of the divine name, YodHehVavHeh, and the world of Yetzirah.]

are made into a transport (or chariot) for Tiferet

[Tiferet is translated as harmony or balance.  It is commonly associated with Rachamim / mercy and is the union of Chesed / lovingkindness and Gevurah / strict justice.  In the body, it is the torso or the heart-place and is associated with Yaakov.]

and they enter under the shadow of faith, for the faith surrounds, then enters the inside.  (Leviticus 23:42) “In booths” – surrounding -“you shall dwell”, in community, on the inside, “seven days” Z’er Anpin and Malchut (6 + 1, i.e. seven Sefirot) (Zohar III, 255), YHVH the Adonay / my Lord, together makes 91,

[yodhehvavheh plus alephdalednunyod, which means the higher worlds YHVH together with this world, Adonay; the union is a raising of this world, or redemption.  The math is (yod (10) + heh (5) + vav (6) + heh (5) + aleph (1) + daled (4) + nun (50) + yod (10) = 91.]

the numeric equivalent of Sukkah (also, Maachol / food).

[Samekhvavkafheh (60+6+20+5=91).  MemAlephkaflamed (40+1+20+30=91)]

And the special faith of Sukkos brings about the rewards of  rain, rewards from on high.  To attain this prize will depend on what one undertakes in terms of the responsibility for one’s life and the way one lives it.  And during Sukkot, the faith takes hold of one and one truly believes it, one feels it as real when one sits in the Sukkah.  (Shabbos 104a.) “If one comes to purify oneself [God] helps him/her.”

[So there is a vital ingredient which is what we bring to the situation.  The faith requires some work on our part to make an honest assessment of what our opportunity areas are and to improve in those areas.] 

And during Sukkos, one remembers that one is responsible, because Sukkos is called (Tanchuma, Emor 22) “The primary time for taking inventory of wrongdoing.”

And regarding the mitzvot of the four species,

[This refers to the holding of the etrog / citron, in the left hand, together with lulav-bundle, held in the right during this holiday.  The bundle consists of the hadassah / myrtle, the lulav / date palm and the arava / willow]

they too show the way about the tree of life and it’s repair,

[A tikkun / repair, making the world better through internalizing the etz chayyim / tree of life, a term referring to all the Sefirot.  The “repair” means bringing the holiness into our lives and the lives of those we touch],

and male and female, especially, through them:

[The etrog and the lulav correspond to female and male, respectively; the repair, to health and balance between female and male.  The union points to redemption.]

Three myrtles: Chesed, Gevurah, Tiferet, two rods of willow: Netzach and Hod, and the date palm, Yesod.  And the etrog, like a womb, which is Malchut.

[The lulav-bundle joined to the etrog represents the union of the worlds of Yetzirah and Assiyah, the vav and the final heh.]

And the shaking of them begins at the chest, that same place that was tapped during the Yom Kippur confessions, that place in the body that feels obligations.  And shaking them with all one’s heart (Mishnah Berachot 9:5) means with both your inclinations.

[B-chol l-vav’cha / With all your heart.  The word l-vav’cha is a form of the word for heart, lev.  It is a special form with the letter Bet repeated.  The two letters bet represent the two inclinations, yetzer hatov / good inclination and yetzer hara / bad inclinations.  When we give blessings, we are blessing both sides, good and evil.]

So one could say:  “I believe with perfect faith that from Hashem Yitbarach‘s source of mercy, we will be able, amidst joy, to raise our hearts in the ways of Hashem and to reach (Zohar I 236) from the microcosm of Yaakov to the macrocosm Yisrael Saba. And through our actions, we merit to draw down a great flow of abundance into all the worlds, because the flow will be roused for us by the supernal guests, and through them, you shall not lack water (cf., Hymn: ‘Prayer for rain’).”

Please click here for a copy of the Hebrew with the English.

2 Responses to “On Sukkot: Surrounded and Filled with Faith”

  1. Yisrael Rielly Says:

    one of our favourite times of the year, Zaidi Zalman’s word are as an added light to put in our sukkah. blessings all!

  2. Gloria Krasno Says:

    Dear Zaidi Zalman,
    How your teachings/ your transmitions
    fill the Sukkah with the light of Tiferet
    Heart to heart and earth joined to sky
    The heavenly ones from Yaakov and Hannah
    to our nearest and dearest of friends/ family
    Welcomed . . .

    l’chaim, Gal-or-Ya

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