Shabbos Chol Hamoe’d Succos

Yom Kippur fell on Shabbos, A week later Shabbos is Chol Ha’Moed Succos. We will read, in the Torah about the “Shelosh Esrei Middos Shel Rachamim“—Thirteen Divine attributes of mercy which we recited many times on Yom Kippur.

The Chiddushei HaRim of Gur said that we read this portion on Shabbos Chol Ha’Moed because it is an “ais ratzon“ within an “ais ratzon,“ during which the Middos haRachamim are aroused and once again illuminate Am Yisrael.

We are currently in a Gan Eden-like atmosphere on earth. Such is the feeling which accompanies every Jew during the month of Tishrei, Surrounded by mitzvohs and feelings of closeness to Hashem, we pass from room to room within this glorious Gan Eden. One Yom tov is followed by yom tov. But Shabbos still remains Shabbos, week after week in a fixed cycle.

At times other elements are added on to Shabbos, and we begin to feel the uniqueness of Shabbos. Shabbos Chol Ha’Moed Succos is one such occassion. If every Shabbos is mai’en Olam Haba, then Shabbos Chol Ha’Moed is Olam Haba within Olam Haba.

During the holiday season, we can probe the meaning of kedushas haShabbos even deeper. Every day of Succos, we bless the lulav lovingly with special feelings of kedusha. On Shabbos it is muktzeh, even though holding a lulav does not involve committing any prohibition on Shabbos, and waving the lulav exerts positive influences in spheres of existance we may still not move it on Shabbos. This is so because someone might do an issur while on the way to shake the lulav.

Everyone is familiar with what Chazal say about the greatness and impact of the Simchas Beis Hasho’eva celebrations which were held in the Beis Hamikdash, to the extent that the name “Beis Hasho’eva“ means the Ruach Hakodesh drawn from this simcha. It was attended by Yerushalayim’s residents as well as by out-of towners who remained in Yerushalayim during the holiday and participated in special simcha each night. This simcha was accompanied by musical instruments and were led by the gedolei hador who danced in the center. In that manner, all observed the words of the command “and you shall rejoice before Hashem your G-d seven days.

During two nights, however, there is no Simchas Beis Hasho’eva celebration, because one may not play the flute or other musical instruments on Shabbos or Yom Tov. Is playing an instrument a melocho? Chazal forbade playing instruments on Shabbos and Yom Tov, because one might repair them on those days.

Thus, we do not draw forth Ruach Hakodesh Yom Tov or on Shabbos during Succos, and do not display our love for the mitzvah then, in order to emphasize that the considerations of Chazal are not measured by our standards.

We would think that the Simchas Bais HaSho’eva and displaying our love for the mitzvah, led by tzaddikim and gedolei hador in the Beis Hamikdash would not result in stumbling blocks, for at such lofty occasions, such things cannot be occur.

However, even when a person is at the peak of ruchniyus, dancing before Hashem with simcha in the Beis HaMikdash, he still is liable to stumble with chilul Shabbos. The decrees of Chazal do not apply to the Kohanim in the Beis Hamada. Nonetheless, they forbade playing instruments on Shabbos and Yom Tov for the simchas Bais Ha’Sho’eva.

The reason they were concerned about this matter is because playing an instrument is not an obligation at Simchas Beis HaSho’eva, but rather a lofty matter. , and from this we may conclude that nothing as lofty as it may be, can outweigh even the most distant possibility of chilul Shabbos, chalila.

Let us apply this idea into practical terms: A person who didn’t complete his preparations for Shabbos on time and suddenly recalls that he still hasn’t toiveled. He rushes to the mikveh in order to immerse himself, despite the late hour.

Without realizing it, he is liable to do something forbidden on Shabbos. Nothing, no matter how lofty, outweighs the possibility of desecrating the Shabbos. This is another reason to complete the preparations for Shabbos early.