Keep Your Distance

October 1, 2017 at 1:39 AM ,

“… This is the rule: Anything that is susceptible to Tum’ah, ritual impurity, or does not grow from the ground, may not be used for S’chach. But whatever is not susceptible to Tum’ah and grows from the grown may be used as Schach…” (Mishna, Sukkah 1:4)

״….זה הכלל, כל שהוא מקבל טומאה ואין גדולו מן הארץ, אין מסככין בו. וכל דבר שאינו מקבל טומאה וגידולו  מן הארץ, מסככין בו…״ – משנה סוכה א,ד

sukkah
Our Sages taught: One should not say, “I find pork disgusting,” or “It is impossible for me to wear shatnez [a mixture of wool and linen],” but should rather say, “I indeed wish to, but what can I do – my Father in Heaven has imposed these decrees upon me?” (Rashi, Vayikrah20:26).

The Maggid of Mezeritch comments that this is only true for someone who has never sinned. The penitent, however, since he has tasted sin and has a predisposition toward it, must train himself to actually loath and despise anything associated with sin, in order to keep his distance and not stumble again (Likutei Amarim, Hosafos 40).

This explains why it is not enough for the materials used for s’chach to be pure from tuma’h; instead, the s’chachmust be from unprocessed materials which are not even susceptible to impurity.

The first mitzvah with which we occupy ourselves after Yom Kippur is the construction of the Sukkah (see Rem”a, Orach Chaim 624:5). Coming from Yom Kippur, we are all in a state of baalei teshuva, penitents. The law of s’chachteaches us that in our precarious state as baalei teshuva it is insufficient to just maintain our purity. Rather, we must keep ourselves at a distance from impurity, such that we are not even susceptible to it.

 

—Reshimos 62, p. 13

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