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Section: Moadim   Category: Succos
A Succah Screaming From The Rooftop

At the end of time, Hashem will give all the nations one last chance to earn eternal life. He will challenge them to perform the mitzva of Succah. The gemara (Avodah Zara 3a) says they will all go out and build succos on their roofs. Hashem will then take out the boiling hot sun until they all run away from their succos and fail their last test. If Hashem is being so kind to give them another chance after all they have done then why spoil it with an unnaturally hot sun? Moreover the gemara says they are allowed to leave the succah under extreme temperature and they were only punished for kicking the succah on the way out.

The Ben Ish Chai explains that they didn't really want to sit in the succah in the first place. They purposely built them on the roof where the sun is at its hottest rather than the cool courtyard that is protected from the sun. Hashem gives every person what he really wants. He didn't punish them with a hot sun, rather He gave them the excuse to leave that they were looking for.

Maybe we can offer another explanation B'derech Drush. The gemara in Succah 49b says that even mitzvos that are performed in public like Hachnosas Kallah must be done as discreetly as possible, since the Pasuk of Hatzei'a Leches to go modestly is written in the same pasuk as the mitzva of Hachnosas Kallah. Succah is the most private of Mitzvos. It cannot be performed publicly but only in your own private succah, as we leave everything and everyone and have Yichud with Hashem. It is purely Lishma with no neighbors watching.

Succah was the test of the other nations to see if they are ready to be alone with Hashem even with no one watching. What did they do? They went out and built the succah on their roofs so everyone can see that they are doing a mitzva. To this Hashem said no thank and turned up the heat, chasing them all away.

We do so many things for public recognition. Mitzvos are not meant to be done while shouting from the rooftop. One time a year we are trapped. On Succos it is just us and Hashem. Halevai we can take succos with us the whole year and perform all our mitzvos in a succos like atmosphere, caring only about serving Hashem and not looking over shoulder to see who is watching.

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