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    The Gemara (Succah 3) teaches that a succah must have enough room to contain most of one’s body and a small table. If it is smaller than this dimension, it’s passul. The Sfas Emes taught that this measurement teaches us that one should be entirely inside the succah. The whole mind and heart should be inside the succah. No part of his being should be outside the succah. And once he’s there, he should get his family into the spirit of Succos as well. Sitting in the succah is an incredibly great mitzvah. The Zohar writes, “When a person sits in the shadow of emunah (in the succah) the wings of the Shechinah are spread upon him…. He should be happy every day of Succos and show a happy continence because the Ushpizen are there with him…” The Yesod v’Shoresh HaAvodah writes, “When a person learns about the greatness of this mitzvah and its huge reward, and about the seven exalted Ushpezin, he will yearn intensely for this mitzvah… because it is extremely exalted – the mitzvah of succah…” If someone sat in the succah without joy, he technically kept the mitzvah. The Torah said to live in a succah for seven days, and he did so. He ate there. Perhaps he even slept there. But one shouldn’t be satisfied with this level of performance. One should be extremely happy when he is in the succah. As the Sfas Emes taught, his entire essence should be in the succah, and he should influence his family to experience this joy and spirituality together with him. The Mishnah Berurah (625:1) states: “When one sits in succah, he should have in mind that Hakadosh Baruch Hu commanded us to sit in succos to remember yetzias Mitzrayim, and also, to remember the clouds of glory, which Hashem wrapped around us, to protect us from the cold and heat. One should think these thoughts, and in this manner, he will be keeping the mitzvah properly. However, bide’eved, one has accomplished the mitzvah even if he merely had in mind to do the mitzvah.” This quote from the Mishnah Berurah teaches us that thinking about the reasons for succah (a remembrance of yetzias Mitzrayim and the “ananei cavod”) is part of the mitzvah. Generally, the reasons for the mitzvos are not part of the mitzvah. For example, one doesn’t need to know why Hashem commanded us to take the four minim (lulav, etc.). One also doesn’t need to know why Hashem commanded us to hear the shofar. We are obligated to do — to take the lulav, to listen to the shofar — but we are not obligated to know the reason why we do that. However, an integral part of the mitzvah of succah is to think about the reason why we have this mitzvah. As the Torah says, “Sit in succos for seven days… so all generations shall know that I sat the Jewish nation inside succos when I took them out of Egypt…” We can compare it to a king who commands his servant to do something. If the servant follows the king’s directives, and does the deed, it is sufficient. He isn’t required to think anything specific as he does the deed. However, if the king would tell his servant, “Do the following deed, and as you do so, think the following…” the loyal servant would need to think, too. The deed by itself wouldn’t be sufficient. Similarly, regarding most mitzvos, Hashem just told us to do them. By performing them, we’ve completed Hashem’s will. By the mitzvah of succah, Hashem said to do and to think (about yetzias Mitzrayim and the ananei hakavod). If he doesn’t think about these matters, the mitzvah is imperfect and he didn’t fully carry out Hashem’s command. We elaborate on this idea because it is another indication that when one keeps the mitzvah of succah, he should do so joyously, with heart and soul. He should be thinking. As the Sfas Emes taught, one’s entire essence should be inside the succah. The joy doesn’t need to be one hundred percent true. Tzaddikim taught that one is allowed to use ø÷ù, falsehood, for simchah, because when one pretends to be happy, he will end up being genuinely happy. We should put on a happy face, show that we are happy with the mitzvos, and then we will truly reach this level (and we will draw the family into the spirit together with us). THE HOLINESS OF THE SUCCAH The Gemara (Succah 9) teaches, “Just as Hashem’s name is on a korban… so is Hashem’s name on the succah.” Chazal also tell us that a succah may not be lower than ten tefachim. The Chesed l’Avraham explains that Hashem, keviyachol, hovers over the succos of the Jewish people. Therefore, the succah must be at least ten cubits high, since Chazal tell us that the Shechinah never rests below ten tefachim. The Yaaras Dvash writes, “[When one sits in the succah] Hashem’s anan is there. Although we don’t see the cloud of glory, it is true and definite [that Hashem’s holy cloud is upon us]. Hashem’s cloud is hovering over them from high above, on those who sit in the succah lishmah, and study Torah there, and are happy with the mitzvos and with the holiday…” It is written “The King brought me into His chambers” (Shir HaShirim 1:4). The Vilna Gaon zt’l explains that this is referring to the succah. The succah is keviyachol Hashem’s chambers, and Hashem invites us in, as He desires to be with us there. The succah is compared to a miniature Beis HaMikdash. Mekubalim taught that when one is in the succah, he should eat on a table that has four legs, to represent the shulchan of the Beis HaMikdash, which had four legs. The Divrei Chaim of Tzanz zt’l taught that one shouldn’t spit in the succah, just as one isn’t permitted to spit when walking on Har Habayit (the Temple Mount, see Brachos 54). Tzaddikim were also extremely careful that a gentile shouldn’t enter the succah, because of the great sanctity that is there. The Bikurei Yaakov (in the beginning of his hilchos succah) writes, “Be very careful with the mitzvah of succah, because succah is gematriya ninety-one, the same as the two holy names”. When one sits in a succah, he is being hugged keviyachol by Hakadosh Baruch Hu. As it states in Shir HaShirim (2:6) “His left arm is under my head, and He hugs me with his right arm.” The Midrash says, “smoli tachat roshi is the succah…”. This hug is represented by the walls of the succah. The Arizal said that the required three walls of the succah represent the arm, with its three parts (from the shoulder until the elbow, from the elbow until the hand, and the hand). The Gemara teaches that a succah needs at least two regular length walls, and a third shorter wall, the length of a tefach. This is the arm, with the small hand. It represents keviyachol Hashem’s arm, hugging us as we sit in the succah. Because of these reasons, we should be extremely happy when we keep the mitzvah succah. If we aren’t on the level to have joy naturally, we can fake it until it becomes real. Being in the succah, we are living in a very holy locale. As the Yesod Yosef writes, “When one sits in succah, and he learns and davens there, he is living in the upper worlds literally …” And we conclude with the words of the Mishnah Berurah (439:2): “Since the succah is extremely holy, it is proper that one should minimize speaking divrei chol (mundane talk) there and instead speak Torah and holy words. One should unquestionably be careful not to speak lashon hara, rechilus, and other forms of forbidden speech in the succah.”