S’chach Doesn’t Like Anger
of stories about Sukkos
By M. Liebson
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.
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
HaSichos 5705, p. 55)
DOESN’T LIKE ANGER
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.
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.
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.
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.
HaToldos Maharash, p. 70, 76)
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.
Dvarim, vol. 2 p. 146)
MADE THE BRACHA
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.
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.
time they could not obtain a Yanover esrog and only had one from Eretz
Yisroel. The Rebbe said the bracha over it and wept.
V’Chayaleha, p. 31)
REASON FOR THE TOOTHACHE
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.
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.
Dvarim, vol. 1 p. 174)
ESROG SENT BY PLANE
Meir Avtzon relates what he heard from the Chassid R’ Peretz Chein, a’h:
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.
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.
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].
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.
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.
BaAfeila, p. 123-4)
THE REBBE’S ESROG
Chassid R’ Refael Kahn, a’h, related the following:
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.
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.
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
Sukkos, the Rebbe said Hallel as the chazan throughout the
holiday, as well as the Hoshanas on Hoshana Rabba.
V’Sippurim 1, p. 107; Lubavitch V’Chayaleha, p. 31)
IS LAUGHING AT THEM
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...).
the Rebbe, "If they only knew how much the s’chach laughs at them
they wouldn’t laugh at all."
HaSichos 5704 p. 23)
IN THE SUKKA
IN THE POURING RAIN
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.
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.
Dvarim, vol. 2 p. 146)
IN THE SUKKA?
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 ?!
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.
HaSichos 5699, p. 295)
AS YOU DWELL
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.
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.
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
Chassidim - Moadim)
FOR SOMETHING TO LAUGH AT
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.
HaSichos 5704, p. 30)
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?"
Rebbe answered him according to kabbala, saying that gentiles derive
spiritual "nourishment" only from the first section of the
R’ Mendel asked, "Why are these kuntzim (going around in circles)
expected of us? Let’s go straight!
Rebbe asked, "What do you mean by straight?"
R’ Mendel, "Like this, to walk straight," and he demonstrated with
his hand, making a motion from east to west.
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).
Shalom, p. 1)
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."
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.
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").
HaSichos 5705, p. 57)
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.
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.
V’Chayaleha, p. 32-33)