Prologue:        We really need to figure it out. After all, why
does Hashem want us to celebrate the holiday of Sukkos? Pesach
celebrates the Yetziah from Metzrayim and Shavuos , the giving
of the Torah. But why Sukkos? And if you want to mention the
dependence on the Ananei HaKavod, why then do we not celebrate
the Manna or the Be'Er of Miriyam as well? Why lower the Nessim
that came B'Zechus Moshe U'Miriam instead of the one from

        Chazal tell us that from Briyas HaOlam, Hashem has
sought out a place for the Shechina to rest. He has searched for
a place to call home on earth. (see commentaries to Yirimiyahu
7:4). It is through the dedication to Torah and Mitzvos on the
part of man that Hashem finds a home to rest his Shechina upon
(See Midrashim on the Possuk V"Asu Lee mikdash-Parshas Teruma).

        Following the departure from the land of Mitzrayim,
there was no Am Yisroel and no Torah yet. The nation was not
nationalized until HaR Sinai and there even were idol
worshippers among Klal Yisroel. Still, Pesach needed to be
commemorated because, after all, it was a miracle worthy of
recognition Godly intervention in daily events.

        Similarly, when Shavuos happened, the nation achieved a
sense of national unity and the recognition that God could now
dwell among the nation. Thus, commemoration of that holiday as
well, recognized God's reign in the world.

        Sukkos is different. The Chasam Sofer (Drashos Toras
Moshe) notes that Sukkos followed a low point in Jewish
tradition, not a high. Following Yetzias Mitzrayim there was
Matan Torah. Following Matan Torah there was an Eigel. God
finally forgave the people as Moshe came down with the second
set of Luchos on Yom HaKippurim. The Malachei HaShares
challenged God's power of mercy and noted that the nation
couldn't handle the Torah --- that mortal man couldn't handle
the Torah. Thus, the holiday of Sukkos coming immediately after
Yom HaKippurim, stresses the commitment to Torah and the ability
to heed the word of Hashem. It is the dedication of bringing the
Shechina to a resting place among man, building a home for
Hashem with no strings attached.

Chag Sameach.  

Zecher L'Mikdash: A Call to Action??

        The Mishna in Sukka (41a) notes that Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai added a
Takkana Zecher L'Mikdash, to have the Lulav carried for seven days. What
are the parameters for Zecher L'Mikdash?

        The Rambam (Hil. Chometz 8:8) notes that Koreich is also a Zecher
L'Mikdash. There, the Rambam adds that as a result of the special status
of this Mitzva, it is performed without a Beracha. Thus, from his wording
it would seem to follow that when a Mitzva is done for Zecher L'Mikdash,
it should be performed without a Beracha. Why then, do we recite a Beracha
on the Lulav each subsequent day of Sukkos, if the only reason the Lulav
is taken is Zecher L'Mikdash?

        The truth is that the Rambam himself seems to have taken this
question into account. He writes (Hil. Lulav 7:15) that since the
destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, the Lulav is taken for seven days as a
Zecher. He adds that a Beracha is recited since this is a Mitzva MeeDivrei
Sofrim. HaGaon Harav Soloveitchik Ztl. (Harirei Kedem 138) explained the
Rambam as follows: Concerning the taking of the Lulav, the "Cheftza"
itself, (i.e. the lulav itself) is taken as a result of a Chiyuv Mi"Divrei
Sofrim. The Maaseh of taking the Lulav contains within it the Zecher
L'Mikdash. That is to say, that one can split the Mitzva and the action of
doing the Mitzva. The former is a Chiyuv M'D'Rabbonon and the latter is
the Zecher L'Mikdash. The Zecher L'Mikdash is only on the Netila. On the
other hand, Koreich has no Mitzva attached to it. The whole concept is one
of Zecher L'Mikdash which is achieved in the Maaseh. To the Maaseh there
is no Beracha.

        Tosafos too (Megilla 20b) will need to utilize this Cheftza-Maaseh
split. Tosafos notes that following the Sefira counting one recites a
Yehee Ratzon SheYibaneh Beis HaMikdash which he doesn't do after Tekias
Shofar or Lulav. Tosafos says that the reason is that in counting Sefira
there is no activity of Zecher, only recall. Lulav has activity so a Yehee
Ratzon would be inappropriate. However, according to Rav Soloveitchik's
Chilik, the Zecher L'Mikdash has no activity associated with it?

        Unless one decides that there is a Mitzva by Lulav and by Shofar
that co-exists with the Zecher L'Mikdash. There is no such independent
Mitzva in regard to Sefira. The whole recollection is Zecher L'Mikdash and
thus one would say the YeHee Ratzon there. As to why one would recite a
Beracha on Sefira if there is no Mitzva associated with it, Tosafos
remains consistent with their theory that one recites a Beracha on a
Minhag.  (BTW, this is why we can recite a Beracha on the candle of Yom
Kippur which is a Minhag as well - See Shiurei Maran HaGaon Harav Hershel
Schachter Shlita, "Insights into the Yom Kippur Machzor" 5761).

        Thus, one can also explain another interesting difference between
Lulav and Shofar on the one hand and Sefirah on the other. When taking the
Lulav on Sunday this year (2nd day of Yom Tov), one can recite
SheHeChiyanu. Similarly, the 2nd day of Rosh Hashanna SheHeChiyanu was
recited before the blowing of the Shofar. However, no SheHeChiyanu is
recited on Sefira. Why? The Baal HaMaor (end of Pesachim) explains that
concerning Sefira, the recitation only reminds us of the sadness
associated with Zecher L'Mikdash. However, Lulav, which also has a Mitzva
MeeDivrei Sofrim attached to it, is not only a Zecher l'Mikdash. As a
result we can recite a SheHeChiyanu over the joy of being able to perform
yet another Mitzva.

Shabbat Shalom V'Chag Sameach