Succah Daf 53
Insight by Susan Suna
Today we discuss the joys of the Simchat Beit Hashoeva and then move on to explain the next lines of the Mishna. Exiting the Mikdash the people would mention our ancestors who at the end of the First Beit HaMikdash sinned with their back to the Mikdash and their face to the sun (Ezekiel 8:16) We thank Hashem and our eyes turn to Hashem in hope.
The Gemara asks: Don’t we know that if the people are facing east towards the sun that their backs are to the Mikdash? It teaches that they would expose themselves and defecate downward. This graphic image is in stark contrast to the celebration of the Simchat Beit Hashoeva as well as to the images of everyone with their Lulav and Etrog in the Mikdash as described on previous dapim. Here we are showing our strong connection to Hashem and the mitzvot. As opposed to turning away from Hashem to worship nature – ie, the sun, we use the water and the four species to worship Hashem and show our affinity to the Mitzvot.
However, do we say that we are righteous and our ancestors were sinners? We have learned that one who attempts to get respect by disgracing others does not have a portion in the next world. How do we explain this statement, perhaps prayer, of the people leaving the Mikdash? There are those who explain that the people exiting the Mikdash said this as Kaparah for their ancestors via embarrassment (Chidushei Rebbi Eliyahu MiGraydiz). There are others who say that they were using this verse to warn the people exiting the Midash at sunrise not to have evil thoughts of worshipping the sun as their ancestors had (Shoshanim David).
Please note that we encountered this verse in Ezekiel previously (June 29 / 19 Tammuz) on Yoma 77a from a different perspective. On that daf Aggadata was presented to explain the heavenly response between Hashem and the angels to this idolatrous act. We saw that Hashem doesn’t want to punish Am Yisrael nor do the angels want to carry out such a mission. Yoma 77a presents תוכחה, a reminder to act as Am Hashem so that the angels will sing our praises in the heavenly court.
On October 24, 2023 / 9 Cheshvan 5784 we will encounter this verse again in Kiddushin 72a. There the verse will be used to understand why Ezekiel cried when Pelatiah Ben Benaiah died. Was it because Pelatiah was righteous or evil. Our verse in Ezekiel is used as a proof text along with verse Ezekiel 11:1 that Pelatiah, a leader of the people, was part of the 25 men who were sinning. The prophet was crying since how could it be that someone who acted in this evil way died in bed peacefully.
From the three presentations of this verse in Ezekiel we see the rippling effect of an act – in this case a horrible sin – on Hashem and the angels (Yoma), Am Yisrael generations later (Sukkah), and the individual and those of his generation (Kiddushin).
Teachers: Yehudit Epstein & Dena Rock