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The S’chach Doesn’t Like Anger
Compilation of stories about Sukkos
By M. Liebson


The Chassid R’ Pinchas Reizes used to travel to the Alter Rebbe for the month of Tishrei. One year he was ill and could not go. On Shmini Atzeres while sitting in the sukka, he suddenly cried out, "Oy Rebbe!" and explained that the Rebbe had just mentioned him.

Afterwards it turned out that indeed the Alter Rebbe had been sitting in his sukka at precisely that time, and had mentioned R’ Pinchas and blessed him with a complete recovery.

(Seifer HaSichos 5705, p. 55)



The Rebbe Maharash had a simple servant named Yosef Mordechai who had also served the Tzemach Tzedek. Yosef Mordechai once entered the Rebbe’s sukka in a temper. He still had not gotten over his fury at someone in the kitchen as he angrily entered the sukka.

The Rebbe said to him: Yosef Mordechai, it’s true you are a meyuchas (pedigreed) but you must have derech eretz for the s’chach. The s’chach doesn’t like anger.

Why did the Rebbe call him a meyuchas? The Tzemach Tzedek once told him to go sleep in the sukka. The Tzemach Tzedek had two sukkos, one by the house and one in the yard. It was freezing out and Yosef Mordechai said: Rebbe, it’s so cold. The Rebbe answered: Amalek is cold. A Jew has warmth. Go sleep in the sukka and you will merit long life. That’s why the Rebbe Maharash said he was a meyuchas.

Yosef Mordechai lived till the age of 103. When he was 98 he danced like a young man on the "roof" of the large zal, which is what they called the large room of the shul in the Rebbe’s courtyard.

(Seifer HaToldos Maharash, p. 70, 76)



At the yeshiva in Lubavitch the students would form groups of five and buy an esrog together. Whoever wasn’t part of a group used the shul’s esrog, but nobody was allowed to say a bracha on the Rebbe Rashab’s esrog. Perhaps somebody once did, but I never heard about it.

(Reshimos Dvarim, vol. 2 p. 146)



The Rebbe Rashab said the bracha over a Yanover esrog as is the custom of the Rebbeim. He would always take an esrog from Eretz Yisroel in addition, but he would say the bracha and Hallel over the Yanover esrog.

Rabbi Yaakov Landau, a’h, who ate at the Rebbe’s table on a number of occasions, related that the Rebbe would always say on the first night of Sukkos: When Hashem told Moshe to take a fruit, etc., they sent messengers on clouds to Yanoveh (Genoa-Calabria) to bring esrogim from there.

One time they could not obtain a Yanover esrog and only had one from Eretz Yisroel. The Rebbe said the bracha over it and wept.

(Lubavitch V’Chayaleha, p. 31)



Between Yom Kippur and Sukkos 5675 (1914), the Rebbe Rashab had a toothache and he had a handkerchief tied around his jaws. His wife, Rebbetzin Shterna said that he had a toothache because of the great anguish and concern he had had earlier on about obtaining a Yanover esrog. World War I had begun and due to the blockade in Russia, the esrog delivery from Italy had been delayed.

Three esrogim arrived in Lubavitch from Italy just a few days before Rosh HaShana. One esrog was for the Rebbe, one was given to the shochet R’ Shlomo Chaim for guests and the students, and the old Chassid Cooper got the third one.

(Reshimos Dvarim, vol. 1 p. 174)



R’ Meir Avtzon relates what he heard from the Chassid R’ Peretz Chein, a’h:

The wealthy Chassid R’ Shmuel Gurary lived in Odessa near the Black Sea. One day he heard about someone who had brought a beautiful esrog from abroad. He found the man with difficulty and paid him handsomely for the esrog in order to send it to the Rebbe Rashab.

Since it was wartime, R’ Shmuel couldn’t send the esrog by mail, but Sukkos was approaching and the esrog had to reach the Rebbe! He rented a private plane with a pilot and told him to bring the esrog to Chatzivian, which was near Rostov and was not involved in the war at the time.

Erev Yom Tov, the Rebbe found out that an esrog had arrived from Odessa. He told Peretz Chein to go and get it for him. The Rebbe said, "Ich gloib az du vest zicher nit shlofen bai nacht" (I am sure you won’t sleep at night). From this R’ Peretz understood that he first had to immerse in a mikva [i.e., a reference to the fact that a person can become impure in his sleep].

R’ Peretz took somebody else along with him and the two left at three in the morning and walked for hours until they arrived at the post office in Chatzivian. There was a mikva not far from there and the two immersed and went to the post office to pick up the esrog and bring it back to the Rebbe.

The Rebbe awaited their arrival and when they brought him the esrog he stood up and walked towards them. The Rebbe placed the esrog on the table, and walked around the table a few times.

(Oros BaAfeila, p. 123-4)



The Chassid R’ Refael Kahn, a’h, related the following:

On Sukkos 5679 (1918) there were no esrogim in Russia because of the war. The Rebbe Rashab in Rostov had an esrog which had been sent to him by the Chassid R’ Shmuel Gurary, from Odessa. Everybody, Tmimim as well as non-Lubavitchers, came to say the blessing with the Rebbe’s esrog.

My father and I were in Kremenchug and when we heard that the Rebbe had an esrog, we traveled along with many other people from the area to Rostov.

The Rebbe sat in the sukka every morning and everybody came to say the blessing over the esrog in his presence. We arrived on Chol HaMoed Sukkos and went immediately to the Rebbe’s sukka to recite the blessing over the esrog. The Rebbe motioned to my father that he could also shake it (for generally, people didn’t feel comfortable shaking the esrog while the Rebbe sat there and watched; only a few did so, those whom the Rebbe himself instructed).

That Sukkos, the Rebbe said Hallel as the chazan throughout the holiday, as well as the Hoshanas on Hoshana Rabba.

(Shmuos V’Sippurim 1, p. 107; Lubavitch V’Chayaleha, p. 31)



When the Rebbe Rashab was in Rostov there was a group of baalei Musar who resided there. On Sukkos, the Rebbe gave them mashke for their Simchas Beis HaShoeiva farbrengen. Afterwards the Rebbe asked them, "How was the farbrengen?" The baalei Musar answered that during the farbrengen they had recited rhymes like: S’chach, ich lach mit dir tzuzamen... (S’chach, I laugh with you together...).

Said the Rebbe, "If they only knew how much the s’chach laughs at them they wouldn’t laugh at all."

(Seifer HaSichos 5704 p. 23)



Once on a wet Sukkos day, the Rebbe Rashab sent someone to see whether the students of the yeshiva were eating in the sukka or the dining room. The messenger came back and reported that the students were eating in the sukka and in order to prevent the rain from falling on their food, they shielded their heads and their food with their coats.

The Rebbe was very pleased and said: This shows the influence of Chassidic study. Although they are exempt from the mitzva of sukka, they still are careful to eat in the sukka in the pouring rain.

(Reshimos Dvarim, vol. 2 p. 146)



The Rebbe Rayatz related that when the Mitteler Rebbe heard that certain people were sleeping in the sukka, he said: Sleeping under the makif ?! It’s one thing to learn under the makif, for it is considered something that one is forced into doing, but to sleep under the makif ?!

When a person is awake he is in control of himself. But while sleeping, when there is merely a "glimmer of life," he is not in control.

(Seifer HaSichos 5699, p. 295)



The Chassid R’ Boruch Mordechai, z’l, the Rav of Bobruisk, lived in a rented apartment. He earned a meager salary and his landlord was owed a year’s rent. During Sukkos time, R’ Boruch Mordechai asked the landlord to build him a sukka at his expense.

When the landlord finished building the sukka, he asked R’ Boruch Mordechai to pay him for the sukka and added: Rebbi, if you don’t pay me for the sukka, you will not be able to fulfill the mitzva, as it will be considered a stolen sukka.

R’ Boruch Mordechai replied: "Fool, if I pay you I won’t fulfill the mitzva, as it says, "you shall sit as you dwell." Just as I don’t pay you for your apartment, I have to do the same for the sukka and not pay you!"

(Sippurei Chassidim - Moadim)



The Rebbe Rayatz related: On Shmini Atzeres in Lubavitch they looked for things to laugh about. It once happened that someone said the verse, "V’imru hoshi’einu" (from "Ata Horeisa") very somberly. The Rebbe Rashab said: Why are you so serious? Simchas Torah is a different matter.

(Seifer HaSichos 5704, p. 30)



The night of Shmini Atzeres 5652 (1891) they gave both the Rebbe Rashab and his brother, R’ Menachem Mendel, a seifer Torah. As they waited as the other sifrei Torah were given out, R’ Mendel said to his brother, the Rebbe: "I’ve noticed that when a Jew is happy he picks up his hands, whereas when a gentile rejoices he only raises his shoulders. Why is this?"

The Rebbe answered him according to kabbala, saying that gentiles derive spiritual "nourishment" only from the first section of the "supernal arm."

Then R’ Mendel asked, "Why are these kuntzim (going around in circles) expected of us? Let’s go straight!

The Rebbe asked, "What do you mean by straight?"

Said R’ Mendel, "Like this, to walk straight," and he demonstrated with his hand, making a motion from east to west.

Said the Rebbe, "First you have to go through the aspect of iggulim (circles, i.e., transcendent G-dliness, faith) and only then yosher (straight, i.e,. immanent G-dliness, internalization).

(Toras Shalom, p. 1)



The Rebbe Rayatz related: On Simchas Torah 5648 (1887) during Hakafos when they honored my father (the Rebbe Rashab) with the first seifer Torah of the first Hakkafa, he said, "I am still not ready."

He called R’ Yaakov Shneur who came from the Mitteler Rebbe’s family and who earned his livelihood as a broker. The Rebbe asked him what he did as a broker and he said that his work entailed giving merchandise on credit and bringing merchandise from the big city and distributing it among the smaller shopkeepers. When they paid him for the old merchandise he gave them new merchandise.

My father said: After the "cash advance" of the avoda of the month of Elul, the days of Slichos, the two days of Rosh HaShana, the ten days of repentance, the four days between Yom Kippur and Sukkos, Sukkos, Simchas Beis HaShoeiva, and Shmini Atzeres – after all this, you can go on to Hakafos, taking on credit [i.e., the word "Hakafos" referring both to the Simchas Torah circuits made in shul with the sifrei Torah and to "credit").

(Seifer HaSichos 5705, p. 57)



The Rebbe Rashab had the custom of going around the first and seventh Hakafos, each time dancing with his son, the Rebbe Rayatz. How wonderful it was to see the two of them dancing while wearing their shtreimlech (fur hats, which they wore only in Lubavitch), each one grasping a seifer Torah in his left hand, with his right hand on the other’s shoulder.

The dancing lasted a long time, and everybody sang and danced in their places. After the Rebbe returned to his place, the Rebbe’s son remained to dance with the bachurim.

(Lubavitch V’Chayaleha, p. 32-33)





Yosef Mordechai, it’s true you are a meyuchas (pedigreed) but you must have derech eretz for the s’chach. The s’chach doesn’t like anger.






"Rebbi, if you don’t pay me for the sukka, you will not be able to fulfill the mitzva, as it will be considered a stolen sukka..."


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