A collage (Kreuzberg Kollel Commentary on Sukkah 53)

A Collage

Elli Cohn

חֲסִידִים וְאַנְשֵׁי מַעֲשֶׂה כּוּ׳. תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן, יֵשׁ מֵהֶן אוֹמְרִים: אַשְׁרֵי יַלְדוּתֵנוּ שֶׁלֹּא בִּיְּישָׁה אֶת זִקְנוּתֵנוּ — אֵלּוּ חֲסִידִים וְאַנְשֵׁי מַעֲשֶׂה. וְיֵשׁ מֵהֶן אוֹמְרִים: אַשְׁרֵי זִקְנוּתֵנוּ שֶׁכִּפְּרָה אֶת יַלְדוּתֵנוּ — אֵלּוּ בַּעֲלֵי תְשׁוּבָה. אֵלּוּ וָאֵלּוּ אוֹמְרִים: אַשְׁרֵי מִי שֶׁלֹּא חָטָא, וּמִי שֶׁחָטָא — יָשׁוּב וְיִמְחוֹל לוֹ. תַּנְיָא: אָמְרוּ עָלָיו עַל הִלֵּל הַזָּקֵן, כְּשֶׁהָיָה שָׂמֵחַ בְּשִׂמְחַת בֵּית הַשּׁוֹאֵבָה, אָמַר כֵּן: אִם אֲנִי כָּאן — הַכֹּל כָּאן, וְאִם אֵינִי כָּאן — מִי כָּאן. הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר כֵּן: מָקוֹם שֶׁאֲנִי אוֹהֵב — שָׁם רַגְלַי מוֹלִיכוֹת אוֹתִי. אִם תָּבֹא אֶל בֵּיתִי — אֲנִי אָבֹא אֶל בֵּיתֶךָ, אִם אַתָּה לֹא תָּבֹא אֶל בֵּיתִי — אֲנִי לֹא אָבֹא אֶל בֵּיתֶךָ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״בְּכׇל הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר אַזְכִּיר אֶת שְׁמִי אָבֹא אֵלֶיךָ וּבֵרַכְתִּיךָ״.
§ The mishna continues: The pious and the men of action would dance before the people who attended the celebration. The Sages taught in the Tosefta that some of them would say in their song praising God: Happy is our youth, as we did not sin then, that did not embarrass our old age. These are the pious and the men of action, who spent all their lives engaged in Torah and mitzvot. And some would say: Happy is our old age, that atoned for our youth when we sinned. These are the penitents. Both these and those say: Happy is he who did not sin; and he who sinned should repent and God will absolve him. It is taught in the Tosefta: They said about Hillel the Elder that when he was rejoicing at the Celebration of the Place of the Drawing of the Water he said this: If I am here, everyone is here; and if I am not here, who is here? In other words, one must consider himself as the one upon whom it is incumbent to fulfill obligations, and he must not rely on others to do so. He would also say this: To the place that I love, there my feet take me, and therefore, I come to the Temple. And the Holy One, Blessed be He, says: If you come to My house, I will come to your house; if you do not come to My house, I will not come to your house, as it is stated: “In every place that I cause My name to be mentioned, I will come to you and bless you” (Exodus 20:20).