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Note: Eruv Chatzeirot: To permit carrying in a courtyard, community, or town on Shabbat, an Eruv Chatzeirot is necessary. The eruv consists of 3 parts: 1) Walls or halachic partitions surrounding the desired area, 2) If necessary, renting access from the non-Jewish residents, and 3) A communally owned deposit of food.( http://halachipedia.com/index.php?title=Allowing_Carrying_Using_an_Eruv_Chatzerot)
The Sukkah as Eiruv
Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson, of blessed memory,1 the Rebbe’s father, received his rabbinic ordination from a number of distinguished rabbis, among them the Gaon, Reb Chayim Brisker. Reb Chayim’s exam was extremely demanding. In addition to the questions Reb Chayim posed, he also asked Rabbi Levi Yitzchak to respond to some of the queries that had been placed before Reb Chayim.
The following was among the questions: A Jew shared a jointly owned sukkah in a common courtyard together with his other Jewish neighbors. Unfortunately, they had forgotten to make an Eiruvei Chatzeiros which would have permitted them to carry on Shabbos from their houses to the sukkah in the courtyard. The Jew asked Reb Chayim what should be done on Shabbos.
Reb Chayim turned to Rabbi Levi Yitzchak and asked him to adjudicate the matter. Rabbi Levi Yitzchak immediately answered that the jointly owned sukkah itself served as the eiruv,2 transforming the courtyard into a common domain and permitting all the courtyard dwellers to carry from their homes to the sukkah in the courtyard.
All matters found in the exoteric portion of Torah are also found — on a more rarefied level — in the esoteric portion of Torah. How does this apply to the above law of a sukkah acting as an eiruv?
The differences between one Jew and another (and thus the differences in their “domains”) apply only insofar as their bodies and their internal soul powers are concerned. Regarding their essence and even their encompassing soul powers, “all Jews are truly brothers,”3without any division between them.
Since the enveloping quality of a sukkah is of an encompassing level4 — it has the ability to provide a mutual commonality, bringing together one Jew with his fellow — it acts as an eiruv, commingling one Jew with his brother. This is in keeping with the saying of our Sages, that “All Jews are worthy of occupying the same sukkah,”5 for from the perspective of the encircling level of sukkah, all Jews are truly one.
However, this requires additional amplification. The unity engendered by the revelation of an encompassing degree seemingly results from its being so powerful that it nullifies the inherent divisions that emanate from physically distinct bodies.
Here, however, in order for a sukkah to serve as an eiruv, it is not enough that the courtyard dwellers cease thinking of their individual affairs. On the contrary, the sukkah acts as an eiruv because “A person’s attention is drawn to where his food is,” and on Sukkos all the courtyard dwellers eat their food in the common sukkah.6
How, then, can the enveloping level of sukkah, and its ability to nullify physical divisions, act as a means for all those within to become as one — eiruv — for the altogether personal and individual act of eating?
The verse “You shall dwell in sukkos for seven days,”7 teaches us two opposite things: On the one hand, the seven-day limitation indicates that a sukkah is but a temporary dwelling;8on the other hand, we also learn that one is to “dwell” in his temporary sukkah in the same manner that one dwells in his permanent abode.9
In spiritual terms this means the following: The sukkah teaches us that the physical world, in and of itself, is but a temporary dwelling. Yet, by dint of the fact that this impermanent dwelling is utilized by the individual for permanent and eternal purposes — doing all one’s physical deeds “for the sake of Heaven,” for the performance of the commandments, etc. — the person thereby transforms the makeshift temporary dwelling into a permanent dwelling, moreover, a dwelling for G‑d Himself.
By so doing, the person draws down the encompassing level of sukkah even within his physical food, so that the very food serves as a vehicle for G‑dliness.
The statement “A person’s attention is drawn to where his food is” will be understood accordingly:
It is not the physicality of the food that truly draws man’s attention toward it; it is because with this food the person is fulfilling the commandment of sukkah, thereby transforming the frail, physical sukkah into a robust, spiritual edifice.
Since this attitude of employing one’s food in the performance of a mitzvah emanates from the enveloping spirituality of sukkah, it follows that the sukkah — the entity that conjoins all Jews — affects their food as well, that even with regard to matters so worldly as food, all Jews are one. The sukkah thus truly acts as an eiruv.
From Chabad.org - Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. IX, pp. 91-93.
1. His hilulah, the anniversary of his passing, is on the 20th of Av, Chaf Av.
2. See Shulchan Aruch Admur HaZakein, Orach Chayim370:6.
3. Tanya, ch. 32.
4. See Zohar III, 255b; Siddur Im Dach, p. 236a, et al.
5. Sukkah 27b.
6. See Shulchan Aruch Admur HaZakein, Orach Chayim,beginning of ch. 366.
7. Vayikra 23:42.
8. Sukkah 2a.
9. Ibid. 28b; Shulchan Aruch Admur HaZakein, Orach Chayim beginning of ch. 639.
1. When Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson, the Rebbe’s father, was receiving his rabbinic ordination (“Semicha”) from the Gaon, Reb Chayim Brisker, Reb Chayim tested him extensively.
In addition to the questions Reb Chayim posed, he also asked Rabbi Levi Yitzchak to respond to some of the queries that had been placed before Reb Chayim.
The following was among the questions: A Jew shared a jointly owned Sukkah in a common courtyard together with his other Jewish neighbors. Unfortunately, they had forgotten to make an Eiruvei Chatzeirot (which would have permitted them to carry on Shabbat from their houses to the Sukkah in the courtyard). The Jew asked Reb Chayim what should be done on Shabbat.
Reb Chayim turned to Rabbi Levi Yitzchak and asked him to adjudicate the matter. Rabbi Levi Yitzchak immediately answered that the jointly owned Sukkah itself served as the Eruv, (transforming the courtyard into a common domain and permitting all the courtyard dwellers to carry from their homes to the Sukkah in the courtyard).
2. All matters found in the exoteric portion of Torah correspond to the aspects of Pnimiyut HaTorah – the esoteric portions of Torah. One must therefore say that connection between the Sukkah and the Eruv is also found in their inner aspects (Pnimiyut).
The general explanation of this is:
The difference between one Jew and another (and thus the differences in their “domains”) only apply to their external bodies, which also includes the emanation of the soul that is enclothed in the body - the levels of Nefesh, Ruach and Neshama. However, regarding the essence of the soul, and even its encompassing soul powers (Makif), “All Jews are truly brothers,” without any division between them –“We all have One Father”.
Since the enveloping quality of a Sukkah is of an encompassing level— it is “Me’arev” - it acts as an eruv. It commingles one Jew with another together. This is like the saying of our Sages, that “All Jews are worthy of occupying the same Sukkah”. For from the perspective of the encompassing level (Makif of Sukkah), all Jews are one.
3. However, this explanation is not sufficient:
The unity engendered by the revelation of the (level of) Makif seemingly results from that which due to the revelation of the level of Makif, the distinction (ציור) of the body is lost (פארלירט) (as well as that of the emanations of the soul that are enclothed in the body) by which one Jew differs from another.
(This as has been spoken about previously, in the explanation of the verse:
“(Yaakov) built himself a house, and for his livestock he made shelters (Sukkot) “
The word “himself (“lo”) refers to his essence – the soul (Neshama) with its aspects (אירע ענינים). This level built a “house” – a permanent structure (דירת קבע).
Whereas with regard to “his livestock”,
namely physical matters, which are just “bought” ( or “received” (״צוגעקויפטע״ צוגעקומענע) since the soul, of itself, has no relation to physicality)
he built “shelters (Sukkot)“ – a temporary dwelling. For the physical aspects did not have any importance to him).
According to this, the aforementioned aspect of Sukkah (namely that it is the level of Makif) is not sufficient to answer why it should serve as an eruv.
For in order to allow carrying from the house to the courtyard, it is not enough that the courtyard dwellers just cease thinking of their physical affairs. On the contrary, because “A person’s attention is drawn to where his sustenance is,” they indeed are individual entities. However, it is “as if they all dwell in the same house”.
How, then, can the revelation of the Makif of Sukkah effect that all the people of the courtyard be considered “as one household” with regard to the (individual) aspects of eating etc.?
4. This can be understood by prefacing an understanding of the verse:
“You shall dwell in Sukkot for seven days”
which teaches us two opposite things:
The explanation of this in spirituality is:
This entire world is not “permanent’. Rather it is like a “Prozdor” – a “passageway” as it states, ‘The world is like an “Achsadra” - a structure with only three sides. This is similar to a Sukkah that is comprised of three walls. Yet this composes the Avodah of Sukkot.
A Jew must know that the aspects of the world, in and of themselves, are just an aspect of “temporality”, as was discussed previously regarding, “and for his livestock he made shelters (Sukkot) “.
However, through this itself, namely that the physical aspects, do not hold any importance to him. He merely utilizes them for the “sake of Heaven”, or in a manner of “in all paths you should know Him”. Through “Making one’s Sukkah permanent”, this transforms his Sukkah into a permanent dwelling. This means that he transforms the aspects of the world (which in and of themselves is just “his Sukkah” an aspect of temporality) into “an dwelling for G‑d” , they become “permanent”.
This is the second explanation of, “and for his livestock he made shelters (Sukkot) “:
A Jew effects that the revelation of the level of Makif, of the Sukkah, also illuminates in “his livestock” – in the “food that he eats”.
From this, namely that even these physical things become an abode for G-d, it becomes that “A person’s attention is drawn to where his sustenance is”. This is not because his sustenance holds importance, but rather it is because with this food the person is fulfilling the commandment of Sukkah, and making an abode for G-d.
Since the aspect of “A person’s attention . . is where his sustenance is”, it comes out that by making “Sukkot“ for “his livestock” - transforming physical things to become an abode for G-d – the Makif of the Sukkah – because of which all Jews are one — affects their physical aspects (their “food”). That even with regard to these matters, all Jews become enjoined and connected with another. Therefore, the Sukkah acts as an eruv.
MSichas Chof Menachem Av 5712,
Simchat Beit Hasho’eva 5713
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