The Ushpizin and the Chassidishe Ushpizin – The Last Three Days of Sukkos

by Rabbi Sholom DovBer Avtzon

I am presenting the third and final installment on the Ushpizin. I thank all those who reached out with their comments. May it indeed be a freiliche year, with the greatest simcha, the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, speedily in our days.

Dovid HaMelech and the Rebbe Rashab

The Ushpiz for Hoshanah Rabbah is Dovid HaMelech. Dovid HaMelech is the symbol of kingship; unlike that of Shaul his monarchy is forever, for we await the coming of his descendant, Moshiach, to redeem us from golus.

This theme was taken up by the Rebbe Rashab. He instructed his students to fulfill the mission of Bais (the house of) Dovid: To spread to all the teachings of the Torah, and the fulfillment of its Mitzvos, which in turn will bring the coming of Moshiach.

The difference between Dovid HaMelech and the Rebbe Rashab is that Dovid had to do battle in order to stop his opponents. (And because of these wars, he was not allowed to build the Beis HaMikdash.) Although the Rebbe Rashab also had to stop his adversaries, he was able to do it without a fight. This is reflected in his name, Sholom, which means peace.

In other words, although he gave his students the mission of being the soldiers of Dovid HaMelech, he did not have to go to battle to destroy the enemy. Rather he would turn the adversary into an ally.

The lesson from this is that while we must stand up to those who are obstructing the coming of Moshiach, one does not need to do battle with them. Rather, one should harness their strength and use it to help bring the imminent arrival of Moshiach.

Shlomo HaMelech and the Frierdiker Rebbe

Shmini Atzeres is unusual because although it is a continuation of the seven days of Succos, as its name Shmini — the eighth — denotes, it is also its own holiday as attested to by the fact that one (in Eretz Yisrael) does not have to eat in a Sukkah.

This demonstrates that Shmini Atzeres is not only another day of Succos but rather it is much larger than that, as it is the day which brings the experiences and lessons of Succos to their highest level of completion and fulfillment.

This is also the theme of tonight’s Ushpizin, Shlomo HaMelech and the Frierdiker Rebbe.
In the same way Shmini Atzeres continues Succos, Shlomo HaMelech is the continuation of yesterday’s Ushpiz, Dovid HaMelech, Shlomo’s father. Dovid HaMelech desired to build the Beis HaMikdash and prepared everything that was necessary to build it. But it was Shlomo HaMelech who actually brought about the permanent revelation of G-dliness in this world.

This same theme of bringing about a permanent revelation of G-dliness is embodied in the actions of the Frierdiker Rebbe, who was the only child, and the continuation of the Rebbe Rashab. All the previous Rebbeim had Chassidim who learned Chassidus, however they learned on their own, whenever and whatever they wished. It was the Frierdiker Rebbe who proposed to his father — the opening of Yeshivas Tomchei Tmimim, a permanent receptacle for the organized learning of Chassidus.

In addition to giving it a permanent home, the Frierdiker Rebbe had Chassidus translated into many languages. This, as explained in Chassidus, enables G-dliness to be spread throughout the world.

This common thread of permanence explains why the Zohar did not mention Shlomo HaMelech as the eight Ushpiz. Ushpiz means ‘guest’, a temporary visitor, while Shlomo HaMelech and the Frierdiker Rebbe represent permanence.
There was one major aspect of their lives, however, in which they were completely opposite, and that is in their physical situation.

When Shlomo HaMelech reigned, not only as King of Israel but of the world, there was peace throughout the world. The Frierdiker Rebbe, on the other hand, lived in a time of turmoil and was imprisoned many times. During the last years of his life he was physically unwell and unable to speak clearly; this became a “prison” for him as he was unable to continue saying Chassidus which was something he truly wanted to do.

The lesson to be learned from these two great figures is:

One has to prepare the world for the permanent revelation of G-dliness which will be with the coming of Moshiach. This has to be done not only when one is living in comfort (i.e., in the time of Shlomo HaMelech) but also when one is in difficult straits (as was the Frierdiker Rebbe).

Working in difficult situations one can still be successful, even to the extent of turning darkness into light as the Frierdiker Rebbe did. His imprisonment resulted in his freedom which is celebrated today by Jews throughout the entire world as a holiday of great joy.

Simchas Torah and the Rebbe Shlita

When the Frierdiker Rebbe spoke about the Chassidishe Ushpizin, he began from the Baal Shem Tov through to his father, the Rebbe Rashab — these correspond to the first day of Succos through to Hosha’ana Rabbah. The Rebbe shlita, further explained that the Frierdiker Rebbe, the eighth Nassi from the Baal Shem Tov, corresponds to Shmini Atzeres (see yesterday’s lesson). Thus it follows to say that the Rebbe shlita corresponds to Simchas Torah.

On Simchas Torah we take the Sefer Torah as it is wrapped in its mantle and dance with it. We don’t open it up and lesson from it but rather it is left covered and every Jew, the learned and unlearned observant or not, holds it and dances. The reason for this is that the Torah is the inheritance of all Jews, regardless of their knowledge or understanding of the greatness of the Torah.

In the same way the focus of the Mivtzoyim (Mitzvah campaigns) is to accomplish the same cognizance. Every Jew should recognize that the Torah and its commandments are his/hers inheritance.

And just like we can dance on Simchas Torah even with a Sefer Torah which needs to be corrected, so too the Rebbe Shlita sends his Shluchim out to every Jew, since every Jew is holy, regardless of his outward appearance.

Rabbi Avtzon is a veteran mechanech and the author of numerous books on the Rebbeim and their chassidim. He can be contacted at

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