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Hoshana Rabbah; No Man is Left Behind

This guest Drash is by Rachamim Bitton of Jerusalem’s Nahar Shalom Yeshiva located in the Nachlaot neighborhood.


This Motzei Shabbat is Hoshana Rabba.

It is the seventh and final day of the tremendous holy day of sukot. It is the day when we invite the holy David Hamelech into the Sukah, the day we connect to Hashem through the channel of David. It is the day when we bring all the other day to be connected into us on an instinctive level, for the rest of the year, and for our whole lives.

The Sefat Emet explains that on this day we spend most of our time in prayer. Many of us read the whole Tehilim, the book written by David Hamelech, during the night, right after reading the fifth Chumash -Sefer Devarim.

This day has a great power to open us up to the level of consciousness where we have our prayers answered and manifested. Even the most unworthy Jew, a Jew who is comparable to the willow, the Aravah which has no fragrant smell and no fruit, no Torah and no Mitzvot, even he may connect to the tremendous power of salvation of this day. Hoshana Rabba means “The Great: Please Save Me Now”.

If they are unworthy, asks the Sefat Emet, how are they saved on this day? In what merit do they receive salvation?

He explains that the answer is contained in the following words of David Hamelech in Tehilim:

שֹׁמֵר פְּתָאיִם יְהֹוָה דַּלֹּתִי וְלִי יְהוֹשִׁיעַ

The Lord protects the simple; when I was poor, He saved me.

Why does Hashem save those who are poor? It doesn’t necessarily mean that one must be poor to be saved. It means that one who, regardless of their monetary status and regardless of how wealthy they may be spiritually, feels poor and that all he has is not really his own. It is all a present from Hashem, just as a poor man who has received a gift.

Another aspect of fulfilling this Pasuk is that we admit our deficiencies. We admit to the ‘poor man’ within us instead of denying we have any faults and deficiencies.
When we admit to our deficiencies and regardless of these deficiencies we accept ourselves with compassion so that we turn to Hashem for His help rather that being upset at ourselves, we merit a salvation regardless of how undeserving we are.
We must realize that no one is really deserving of Hashem’s salvation because no one can really say they have completely fulfilled the level of service befitting the greatest King, Master of the Universe. Even if someone really perfected himself with Torah and Mitzvot he must realize it is Hashem who gave him the strength and ability to do so, and so it is inappropriate to ask for reward.

Only when we realize this, and we admit our weaknesses with self compassion and a realization of Hashem’s infinite compassion, may we merit an instant complete salvation no matter how undeserving we may be.

This was the service of David Hamelech. Realizing that he has nothing and he is nothing but what Hashem gave him and made him.

Through this, on Hoshana Rabba, every Jew may merit a complete salvation.

May we merit connecting to this consciousness of David, the guest on Hoshana Rabba, for the whole year, and may we always merit a complete salvation no matter how undeserving we seem, to be sealed the final second seal (at Midnight of Hoshana Rabba) for a sweet new year full of all the blessings for us and all Am Yisrael, until the coming of Mashiach and the final redemtion speedily in our days Amen!


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