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

The Mitzvah of Counting the Omer

The Torah states (Vayikra 21, 15): “And you shall count for yourselves, from the day following the Shabbat, from the day the waved Omer offering is brought, seven complete weeks shall they be.” Our Sages (Menachot 65b) have a tradition that the “day following the Shabbat” ref......

Read Halacha

Question: How many “Kezayit”s (olive’s volume) of Matzah must one consume during the Pesach Seder?

Answer: One is obligated to eat altogether three “Kezayit”s of Matzah during the Pesach Seder. Every Kezayit amounts to approx. 30 grams of Matzah. Nevertheless, there is room for stringency to eat four or even five “Kezayit”s of Matzah, as we shall now explain. The Order......

Read Halacha

What Constitutes a “Permanent” or “Professional” Knot

In previous Halachot we have explained that is forbidden to tie a “permanent” knot on Shabbat, i.e. a knot which is not meant to be untied in the near future. It is likewise forbidden to tie a “professional” knot on Shabbat, i.e. a knot which requires some skill to tie. Howev......

Read Halacha

Chol Ha’Mo’ed

The days between the first and seventh days (outside of Israel between the second and eighth days) of the Pesach holiday and the days between the first day of Sukkot and the holiday of Shemini Atzeret (outside of Israel between the second day of Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret) are called “Chol Ha&......

Read Halacha


The Laws of Tying and Untying on Shabbat

The Mishnah in Masechet Shabbat (73a) lists the thirty-nine forms of forbidden work on Shabbat. The Mishnah includes “tying and untying” among them. One who ties or unties a knot on Shabbat is tantamount to having kindled a fire or planted wheat on Shabbat. There are several detailed ......

Read Halacha

Knots Forbidden To Be Tied on Shabbat by Rabbinic Enactment and Those Permitted to be Tied

In the previous Halacha we have explained that two of the forbidden works on Shabbat are tying and untying a knot. We have likewise discussed some forms of knots which are forbidden to be tied on Shabbat by Torah law. We shall now discuss several forms of knots which are forbidden to be tied as a re......

Read Halacha

Everything is Foreseen and Permission is Granted

Israeli Independence Day is celebrated today. Since we have discussed this topic several times in the past, we will not delve into this matter lengthily at this point. Let us just note that according to Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l, although one must show thanks to Hashem for removing the ......

Read Halacha

The Pesach Seder-Kadesh

The Pesach Seder-Kadesh The famous order of the Seder of the eve of Pesach, Kadesh, Urchatz, Karpas, Yachatz, Magid, Rochtza, Motzi, Matzah, Maror, Korech, Shulchan Orech, Tzafun, Barech, Hallel, Nirtzah, was established by the leader of the entire Jewish nation, Rashi. The entire Jewish nation cus......

Read Halacha