Sunday, August 28, 2011

din on water

Well, the storm came, the storm went, and we made it baruch Hashem without damage. Just to give you a feel for the seriousness of the precautions, Rabbonim here advised those who live below Broadway in Lawrence that it was OK to evacuate on Shabbos as it was a situation of pikuach nefesh.

I saw this Meshech Chochma on Shabbos and thought it very apropos (and it's a good vort to remember for Sukkos): When it comes to the mitzvah of aliya la'regel on Pesach and Shavuos, the Torah in Re'eh writes to go to the place "asher yivchar Hashem l'shakein shemo sham." However, when it describes the same mitvzah of aliya la'regel on Succos, it says to go to the place, "asher yivchar Hashem," but it leaves out the words, "l'shakein shemo sham." Why the difference?

Meshech Chochma answers that on Pesach and Shavuos we are judged respectively on wheat crops and fruit. The Torah adds the words, "l'shakein shemo sham," to remind us that unlike what the other nations think, there is no power other than Hashem that can influence what will happen to these crops. On Sukkos, when we are judged on how much water and rainfall will occur, we don't need a similar reminder. Even the nations realize that Hashem and only Hashem controls rainfall and water (he brings a number of proofs from various gemaras).


  1. Anonymous6:17 AM

    (good to hear the 'all clear' from
    your neck of the woods) why is Hashem more realizedly the
    water god than the wheat god or the
    fruit god, that even Israel needs
    reminding as to Who does what?

  2. Anonymous6:46 PM

    (could this too be among the "70"
    reasons the phrase "l'shakein shemo sham" is absent by Sukkot?)
    The Name is not exactly, not entirely there/sham for the chag, but goes out* by invitation (or command?) to all the nations, as we read from Zechariah, 14:16-17...

    *or someday will go out, to invite
    & to escort (those invited, coming
    & going)

  3. Tal Benschar12:11 PM

    Great vort. It is entirely consistent with the fact that Sukkos, much more so than Pesach and Shavuous, has a universal element that applies to the non-Jewish nations as well:

    1. On Sukkos we bring 70 parim for the nations.
    2. The haftarah of Shabbos sukkos mentions that in the future the goyim will come up to Yerushalayim and celebrat Sukkos.
    3. The gemara mentions that in the future Hashem will give the non-Jews the mitzvah of Sukkah.