Halacha for Friday 14 Tishrei 5781 October 2 2020

The Clouds of Glory

The Gemara (Sukkah 11b) explains that the Mitzvah of Sukkah is in commemoration of the clouds of glory that surrounded our ancestors when they left Egypt.

The Gemara (Ta’anit 9a) states: “Three great leaders arose for the Jewish nation: Moshe, Aharon, and Miriam. Hashem gave the Jewish nation three gifts through them which were: The well, the clouds of glory, and the Manna. The well was in the merit of Miriam, the clouds of glory in the merit of Aharon, and the Manna in the merit of Moshe.”

Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l asks: Why is it that during the Sukkot holiday we only commemorate the miracle of the clouds of glory and not the other miracles of the well and the Manna?

Maran zt”l answers in the name of Hagaon Harav Chaim Chafussi zt”l, head of the rabbinical court in Egypt, who writes that there is a clear distinction between the miracles of the well and the Manna and the miracle of the clouds of glory, for Hashem was required to give the Jewish nation water and bread (the Manna), for Hashem could not command the Jewish nation to leave Egypt to go to the desert only to die there of hunger and thirst. On the other hand, the clouds of glory were a special protection from Hashem which the Jewish nation did not necessarily require and was merely a sign of Hashem’s boundless love for the Jewish nation and was done beyond the letter of the law. Thus, we must especially thank and praise Hashem for this miracle and commemorate it through the Mitzvah of Sukkah.

Maran zt”l adds that before the miracle of the falling of the Manna, the Jewish nation complained, as the verse states, “The entire congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moshe and Aharon in the desert. And they said, ‘Would that we have died by the hand of Hashem in the land of Egypt when we sat by the pots of meat and when eat bread to the full, for you have brought us out to this desert to kill this whole assembly with hunger.’” Only then did Hashem reply to the Jewish nation and say, “Hashem said to Moshe, ‘Behold, I will cause bread to rain down upon you from Heaven and the nation shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day.’” Similarly, before being supplied with water from Miriam’s well, the verse states: “The nation fought with Moshe and said: ‘Give us water that we may drink.’ And the people complained against Moshe and said: ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?’” Only afterwards does the verse state: “Hashem said to Moshe, ‘Pass before the nation etc. and you shall hit the rock and water shall come out of it that the nation may drink.’”

On the other hand, the clouds of glory were given to the Jewish nation without requests or complaints and we have therefore been commanded to commemorate only the clouds of glory which were given by Hashem as a gift to the Jewish nation in his great kindness and goodness. (Ma’or Yisrael-Derashot, page 73)

May the merit of the Mitzvah of Sukkah which envelops us protect us from any harm and may we merit going from strength to strength from the joy of the holiday of Sukkot throughout the rest of the year basking in the shade of Hashem’s divine protection and mercy upon us, Amen.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Melaveh Malka

Question: Is one obligated to eat bread on Motza’ei Shabbat for the fourth Shabbat meal which is also referred to as “Melaveh Malka” (meal escorting out the Shabbat Queen)? Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Shabbat (119b) tells us that one should always set one’s table nicely......

Read Halacha

The Customary Order of Rosh Hashanah

It is customary to eat certain symbolic foods during the two nights of Rosh Hashanah which signify good fortune for the entire upcoming year. It is therefore customary to eat black-eyed peas, pumpkin, leek, spinach, dates, pomegranates, apples dipped in honey, and meat of a sheep’s head on the......

Read Halacha

Moving an Electric Blanket or Fan on Shabbat

Question: May one use an electric blanket (heating pad) on Shabbat or is it prohibited to be moved due to the prohibition of Muktzeh? Similarly, may one turn a fan to another direction on Shabbat? Answer: In the previous Halachot we have discussed several laws of Muktzeh on Shabbat which are obje......

Read Halacha

A Tool Used for Work Prohibited on Shabbat

In the previous Halachot, we have discussed the basic laws of Muktzeh on Shabbat which is that there are certain objects our Sages prohibited moving on Shabbat. Utensils or tools which are used for types of work that are permitted on Shabbat may be moved for any purpose. Thus, one may move forks, kn......

Read Halacha


“Muktzeh Due to Monetary Loss”

In the previous Halachot, we have discussed several laws regarding Muktzeh which are certain objects that our Sages prohibited moving on Shabbat. As of yet, we have discussed three types of Muktzeh: “Utensils used for work permitted on Shabbat”, such as forks, knives, and the like, wh......

Read Halacha

Moving Books and Newspapers on Shabbat

Question: Is one permitted to move or read medical books or phonebooks on Shabbat? What is the law regarding reading newspapers on Shabbat? The Opinion of Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch Regarding Reading Books on Mundane and Forbidden Topics Answer: Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 307, S......

Read Halacha

The Blessings on Thunder and Lightning

One who sees lightning recites the blessing, “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha’Olam Oseh Ma’aseh Bereshit.” One who hears thunder recites the blessing, “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha’Olam She’Kocho Ugvurato Maleh Olam.” Until When Can On......

Read Halacha

Benefitting From Muktzeh Objects on Shabbat

Question: May one sit on large stones on Shabbat? Similarly, may one lean on a car on Shabbat? Answer: In the previous Halachot we have explained several laws of Muktzeh on Shabbat which are objects that our Sages prohibited moving on Shabbat for several different reasons. We shall now address th......

Read Halacha