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Tishrei 20

All who are exempt from the succah [because of severe discomfort; e.g. heavy rain or extreme cold] and do not leave, do not receive reward for this and are merely simpletons (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim, Ramah, 639:7).

How wise we would be to observe the way great Torah personalities live, and see how their every move is calculated to adhere to Torah teachings.

Rabbi Chaim Ozer Grodzenski of Vilna had a severe cold one Succos and, because it was chilly in the succah, he ate indoors. However, he had a guest for whom a meal was served in the succah.

During the meal the guest was surprised to see Rabbi Chaim Ozer come into the succah all bundled up with coat and scarf. He asked the Rabbi why he had come out to the succah, especially since he had already eaten in the house.

Rabbi Chaim Ozer explained, "If being in the succah is distressful, then one is exempt from that particular mitzvah. However, the mitzvah of hachnasas orchim, hospitality to a guest, requires that the host join the guest at the table, so that the latter should not eat in solitude. We do not find that distress is an exemption for the mitzvah of hospitality. Thus, although I ate in the house, I have come to sit with you as part of the mitzvah of hospitality.This is what Torah living is all about. Everything one does must be carefully considered, so that it complies with Torah principles.

Today I shall...

try to give greater thought to what I do, to make sure that I am in compliance with Torah at all times.

With stories and insights, Rabbi Twerski's new book Twerski on Machzor makes Rosh Hashanah prayers more meaningful. Click here to order...

Published: May 21, 2009

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