Arie E. Pelta

The Sefiros of Succos (part 2)

Day 1- אברהם \ חסד (תהילים ע”ו)

The first day of Succos represents the sefira of Chesed of Avraham. Avraham was the first Jew to trust in G-d and make Aliyah to Israel. On this day we read Tehillim #76 at the end of Shachris. This Tehillim teaches us that it is futile to rebel against G-d; all nations must accept His mastery. The second pasuk states that G-d is recognized in the Land Yehuda, the Land of Israel. This is followed by the third pasuk stating that G-d is found in Yerushalayim בשלם . According to the Gra, this teaches us the two mitzvos that we perform with our entire body בשלמות עם כל הגוף – settling the Land if Israel מעונותו בציון and dwelling in the Succah סוכו .

תהילים פרק עו

א  לַמְנַצֵּחַ בִּנְגִינֹת; מִזְמוֹר לְאָסָף שִׁיר:
ב  נוֹדָע בִּיהוּדָה אֱלֹקים; בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל, גָּדוֹל שְׁמוֹ.
  וַיְהִי בְשָׁלֵם סוּכּוֹ; וּמְעוֹנָתוֹ בְצִיּוֹן.
ד  שָׁמָּה, שִׁבַּר רִשְׁפֵי קָשֶׁת; מָגֵן וְחֶרֶב וּמִלְחָמָה סֶלָה.
ה  נָאוֹר, אַתָּה אַדִּיר מֵהַרְרֵי טָרֶף.
ו  אֶשְׁתּוֹלְלוּ, אַבִּירֵי לֵב נָמוּ שְׁנָתָם;וְלֹא מָצְאוּ כָל אַנְשֵׁי חַיִל יְדֵיהֶם.
ז  מִגַּעֲרָתְךָ, אֱלֹקי יַעֲקֹב; נִרְדָּם, וְרֶכֶב וָסוּס.
ח  אַתָּה, נוֹרָא אַתָּה וּמִי יַעֲמֹד לְפָנֶיךָ; מֵאָז אַפֶּךָ.
ט  מִשָּׁמַיִם, הִשְׁמַעְתָּ דִּין; אֶרֶץ יָרְאָה וְשָׁקָטָה.
י  בְּקוּם לַמִּשְׁפָּט אֱלֹקים לְהוֹשִׁיעַ כָּל עַנְוֵי אֶרֶץ סֶלָה.
יא  כִּי חֲמַת אָדָם תּוֹדֶךָּ; שְׁאֵרִית חֵמֹת תַּחְגֹּר.
יב  נִדְרוּ וְשַׁלְּמוּ, לַה’ אֱלֹקיכֶם: כָּל סְבִיבָיו יֹבִילוּ שַׁי, לַמּוֹרָא.
יג  יִבְצֹר, רוּחַ נְגִידִים; נוֹרָא, לְמַלְכֵי אָרֶץ.


  • For the Conductor; with string-music. A Psalm by Asaph, a Song:
  • In Yehuda G-d is recognized; In Israel great is His name .
  • Then was in Yerushalayim His succah, and His dwelling in Zion.
  • There He broke the flying bows; shield, and the sword, and the battle. Selah .
  • Glorious art You and more powerful, than the towering predators.
  • The stout-hearted are bereft of sense, they sleep their sleep; and none of the men of might have found their hands.
  • At Your rebuke, O G-d of Yaakov, they are cast into a dead sleep, the riders also and the horses.
  • You, even You, are terrible; and who may stand in Your sight when once You are angry?
  • You did cause judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth feared, and was still,
  • When G-d arose to judgment, to save all the humble of the earth. Selah
  • Surely the wrath of man shall acknowledge You; the residue of wrath You will restrain.
  • Make vows, and pay them HaShem your G-d; let all that are round about Him bring presents unto Him that is to be feared;
  • He will cut down the arrogance of princes; He is awesome to the kings of the earth.



Avraham is the gematria of succah spelled out as –  .סמך ואו כף הה

גימטריה במילוי:

סמך   –    120

 ואו   –     13

כף   –    100

הי   –      15

סוכה     =   248  =  אברהם בגימטריה רגילה


The first day hoshana is always למען אמתך (truth of Avraham) , except when the first day is Shabbos, then we say אום נצורה (guarded nation who keeps the Shabbos). The first of the hoshanos expresses the theme of chesed.

כי אמרתי עולם חסד יבנה , שמים תכן אמונתך בהם )תהילים פט:ג (

For I said forever will your kindness be established, the heavens You establish Your faithfulness in them (Tehillim 89:3)

On the way to Akedas Yitzchak , Avraham saw clouds on Har Hamoriah . We are reminded of these clouds on this day when we look at the walls of the succah.

Lech Lecha

Avraham separated himself from the other nations of the world (Chutz LaAretz) with when he left Charan with the command of לך לך. This is the gematria of 100, which is same value as סכך . He was given unclear instructions to go to the Land the G-d was to show him, ארץ אשר אראך . It was only, later on, clear to Avraham that he was going to the Land of Canaan / Israel. Every Jew has a lech lecha moment in their life to be like Avraham and to take the opportunity to make Aliyah. There is a fear that it will not work out. Therefore we learn to trust in G-d by living in the succah. We hear 100 shofar blasts on Rosh Hashanah when we proclaim that G-d is the King, on Succos we show we trust in G-d. This trust is shown by living in Israel. Every year the one hundred shofar blasts to remind us to hear the sound of לך לך! G-d is in charge, he will take care of us, trust in Him. In Israel we live in the shadow of G-d, צל ה’ . We see with our own eyes that He is in charge and constantly protects us, עיני ה’ אלקיך בה (דברים יא).

            ישעיהו ד:ו

            וְסֻכָּה תִּהְיֶה לְצֵל יוֹמָם, מֵחֹרֶב; וּלְמַחְסֶה, וּלְמִסְתּוֹר, מִזֶּרֶם, וּמִמָּטָר:

And Succah shall be for a shadow in the day-time from the heat, and for a refuge and for a cover from storm and from rain. (Yishaya Isaiah 4:6).

The Esrog and Teshuva

Avraham and the esrog are both called hadar הדר  Avraham was a Tzadik from the start to finish. Even though he began in a house of idols he was still holy. This is the power of teshuva – sins are turned into merits. Similarly, the esrog continues to grow and improve in the summer and winter, unlike any other fruit. On Yom Kippur our sins are turned from intentional מזיד sins into inadvertent שוגג transgressions, because of our teshuva based on fear of G-d. While on Succos, we transform our sins into merits resulting from the teshuva of love. We learn this power of teshuva from Avraham. He has the letter ה in his name from the last heh in G-d’s name י-ה-ו-ה . This is what occurred when his name was changed from אברם to אברהם. Similarly, there are four species that we hold in the lulav bundle which parallel the four letters in G-d’s name. The esrog , like Avraham, parallels the final heh in G-d’s name.

Water Blessing

Today in the Musaf prayer, we start to mention the sacrifice of 13 bulls, in order to bless the 70 nations of the world. On days 2,6,7 of the holiday of Succos we hint to the blessing of the water. These days are called the days of “buz” (2,6,7) .ימי בו”ז On these specific days, the pesukim in the prayer are changed by one letter to spell the word “water” מ-י-ם; this is represented by the water pouring ceremony in the Beis Hamikdash, ניסוך המים (Zohar, Pinchas 258b).

  • On day 2 (ב) there is an extra letter mem in ונסכיהם ; it should be spelled ונסכה as on day one.
  • On day 6 (ו) the word for pouring is spelledונסכיה ; it has an extra letter yud.
  • On day 7(ז) say the word כמשפטם is written with extra mem.

Our goal is to decrease the strength of the nations. We start with 13 bulls on day one and then on day two we start to diminish them to 12 bulls. This pattern continues daily for seven days. We get the power to decrease the strength of our adversaries by serving G-d with simcha all seven days of the Succos holiday. With the power of simcha in Eretz Yisrael we can rule over the seventy nations of the world.

Day 2 – (תהילים כ”ט) יצחק \ גבורה

The song of the day is Tehillim # 29 which recognizes that G-d’s Gevura / power and glory pervade all of creation. His will has been manifested by His interventions in history. We invoke the memory and merits of our forefathers אברהם יצחק יעקב, who are referred to here as “the powerful” or the בני אלים. The sefira of the day recognizes the Gevura or power כח of Yitzchak. Gevurah can be expressed through the fear of G-d ירא , honor כבוד or strength עז.

          תהילים פט:יד

לך זרוע עם גבורה תעז ידך תרום ימינך.

Yours is the arm with gevura; strengthened is your hand, uplifted is your right hand (Tehillim 89:14).

תהילים פרק כט

א  מִזְמוֹר, לְדָוִד:    הָבוּ לַה’, בְּנֵי אֵלִים; הָבוּ לַה’, כָּבוֹד וָעֹז.
ב  הָבוּ לַה’, כְּבוֹד שְׁמוֹ;    הִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לַה’, בְּהַדְרַת קֹדֶשׁ.
ג  קוֹל ה’,    עַל-הַמָּיִם; אֵל הַכָּבוֹד הִרְעִים; ה’ , עַל מַיִם רַבִּים.
ד  קוֹל ה’ בַּכֹּחַ;    קוֹל ה’ , בֶּהָדָר.
ה  קוֹל ה’, שֹׁבֵר אֲרָזִים;    וַיְשַׁבֵּר ה’, אֶת אַרְזֵי הַלְּבָנוֹן.
ו  וַיַּרְקִידֵם כְּמוֹ עֵגֶל; לְבָנוֹן וְשִׂרְיֹן, כְּמוֹ בֶן רְאֵמִים.
ז  קוֹל ה’ חֹצֵב; לַהֲבוֹת אֵשׁ.
ח  קוֹל ה’, יָחִיל מִדְבָּר; יָחִיל ה’ , מִדְבַּר קָדֵשׁ.
ט  קוֹל ה’ , יְחוֹלֵל אַיָּלוֹת וַיֶּחֱשֹׂף יְעָרוֹת; וּבְהֵיכָלוֹ כֻּלּוֹ, אֹמֵר כָּבוֹד.
י  ה’ , לַמַּבּוּל יָשָׁב; וַיֵּשֶׁב ה’ , מֶלֶךְ לְעוֹלָם.
יא ה’ עֹז, לְעַמּוֹ יִתֵּן ה’, יְבָרֵךְ אֶת עַמּוֹ בַשָּׁלוֹם.

  • A psalm by Dovid: Render unto Hashem you sons of the powerful; render unto Hashem glory and might.
  • Render unto Hashem the honor due His name, bow down to Hashem in the splendor of holiness
  • The voice of Hashem is upon the waters the G-d of Glory thunders; Hashem is upon vast waters.
  • the voice of Hashem comes in power! The voice of Hashem comes in majesty!
  • the voice of Hashem breaks the cedars, Hashem shatters the cedars of Lebanon!
  • He makes them prance about like a calf; the mountains of Lebanon and Siryon like young re’eimim.
  • The voice of Hashem cleaves with flames of fire.
  • The voice of Hashem convulses the wilderness ; Hashem convulses the wilderness of Kadesh [Sinai].
  • The voice of Hashem frightens the deer, and strips bare the forests, while in His Temple all will proclaim Glory!
  • Hashem at the flood, sat enthroned, Hashem sits enthroned as King forever.
  • Hashem strength to His nation will give, Hashem will bless His nation with peace.


Yitzchak has the Gematria of Succah

The gematria of the word succah סוכה, using the את בש technique is (ח פ ל ץ), the same value as Yitzchak יצחק.

נשתמש בשיטה של אותיות את-בש

האות ס באת-בש  הינה ח   =   8

האות ו באת-בש הינה פ     =   80

האות כ באת- בש הינה ל   =   30

האות ה באת-בש הינה צ   =    90

                 סוכה                      =   208  = יצחק


Akedas Yitzchak

Yitzchak was officially the first korban on Har Habayis, the Temple Mount in Yerushalayim. Therefore, The second day hoshanos is אבן שתיה  , “the foundation stone” of the Beis Hamikdash. However, if this day falls out on a Sunday then we say למען אמתך, “for the sake of your truth”.

In this merit of the gevurah of Yitzchak, the Jewish Nation deserved to enter Eretz Yisrael. Historically, following the Pesach Exodus from Egypt we received the Torah on Har Sinai during Shevuos. The next step was for Bnei Yisrael to enter the Land of Israel.

With the merit of the sacrifice of Yitzchak we can use our karbonos are to weaken the seventy nations of the world. On this day we diminish the power of the nations by only offering 12 bulls on their behalf and not 13.

Day 3 (תהילים נ) יעקב \ תפארת –

The song of the day is Tehillim #50. The theme expressed is that G-d wants our purity of spirit adherence to His mitzvos. Similarly, the sefira of the day is Tiferes; which manifests through glory and pure perfection. Yaakov had the purity to enable the twelve tribes of Israel to emanate from him. All of his sons were pure and none were rejected.

Yaakov is also called by the name Yisrael and the Jewish people are correctly called Bnei Yisrael and not Jews. “Jew” is a Chutz LaAretz term referring to only one segment of our nation from the land of the tribe of Yehuda. However, the entire nation is a descendent of Yaakov and we are all originally from Yisrael.


תהילים פרק נ

א  מִזְמוֹר, לְאָסָף:קל, אֱלֹקים ה’ דִּבֶּר וַיִּקְרָא אָרֶץ;מִמִּזְרַח שֶׁמֶשׁ, עַד-מְבֹאוֹ.
ב  מִצִּיּוֹן מִכְלַל יֹפִי אֱלֹקים הוֹפִיעַ.
ג  יָבֹא אֱלֹקינוּ, וְאַל יֶחֱרַשׁ:אֵשׁ-לְפָנָיו תֹּאכֵל;  וּסְבִיבָיו, נִשְׂעֲרָה מְאֹד.
ד  יִקְרָא אֶל הַשָּׁמַיִם מֵעָל;   וְאֶל הָאָרֶץ, לָדִין עַמּוֹ.
ה  אִסְפוּ לִי חֲסִידָי   כֹּרְתֵי בְרִיתִי עֲלֵי זָבַח.
ו  וַיַּגִּידוּ שָׁמַיִם צִדְקוֹ:   כִּי-אֱלֹקִים, שֹׁפֵט הוּא סֶלָה.
ז  שִׁמְעָה עַמִּי, וַאֲדַבֵּרָה  יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאָעִידָה בָּךְ:אֱלֹקִים אֱלֹקיךָ אָנֹכִי.
ח  לֹא עַל זְבָחֶיךָ, אוֹכִיחֶךָ; וְעוֹלֹתֶיךָ לְנֶגְדִּי תָמִיד.
ט  לֹא אֶקַּח מִבֵּיתְךָ פָר;   מִמִּכְלְאֹתֶיךָ, עַתּוּדִים.

י  כִּי לִי כָל חַיְתוֹ יָעַר;  בְּהֵמוֹת, בְּהַרְרֵי אָלֶף.
יא  יָדַעְתִּי, כָּל-עוֹף הָרִים;   וְזִיז שָׂדַי, עִמָּדִי.
יב  אִם אֶרְעַב, לֹא אֹמַר לָךְ:   כִּי-לִי תֵבֵל, וּמְלֹאָהּ.
יג  הַאוֹכַל, בְּשַׂר אַבִּירִים;    וְדַם עַתּוּדִים אֶשְׁתֶּה.
יד  זְבַח לֵאלֹהִים תּוֹדָה;   וְשַׁלֵּם לְעֶלְיוֹן נְדָרֶיךָ.
טו  וּקְרָאֵנִי, בְּיוֹם צָרָה;    אֲחַלֶּצְךָ, וּתְכַבְּדֵנִי.
טז  וְלָרָשָׁע, אָמַר אֱלֹקים, מַה לְּךָ, לְסַפֵּר חֻקָּי;   וַתִּשָּׂא בְרִיתִי עֲלֵי פִיךָ.
יז  וְאַתָּה, שָׂנֵאתָ מוּסָר;    וַתַּשְׁלֵךְ דְּבָרַי אַחֲרֶיךָ.
יח  אִם רָאִיתָ גַנָּב, וַתִּרֶץ עִמּוֹ;   וְעִם מְנָאֲפִים חֶלְקֶךָ.
יט  פִּיךָ, שָׁלַחְתָּ בְרָעָה;   וּלְשׁוֹנְךָ, תַּצְמִיד מִרְמָה.
כ  תֵּשֵׁב, בְּאָחִיךָ תְדַבֵּר;   בְּבֶן אִמְּךָ, תִּתֶּן דֹּפִי.
כא  אֵלֶּה עָשִׂיתָ, וְהֶחֱרַשְׁתִּי  דִּמִּיתָ, הֱיוֹת אֶהְיֶה כָמוֹךָ; אוֹכִיחֲךָ וְאֶעֶרְכָה לְעֵינֶיךָ.
כב  בִּינוּ נָא זֹאת, שֹׁכְחֵי אֱלוֹהַּ:   פֶּן-אֶטְרֹף, וְאֵין מַצִּיל.
כג  זֹבֵחַ תּוֹדָה, יְכַבְּדָנְנִי:   וְשָׂם דֶּרֶךְ אַרְאֶנּוּ, בְּיֵשַׁע אֱלֹקִים.

  • A song by Asaph; O Almighty G-d Hashem spoke and called to the earth, from the rising of the sun to its setting.
  • Out of Zion consummation of beauty, G-d appeared.
  • Come will our G-d and not be silent; a fire before Him will consume and His surroundings are exceedingly turbulent.
  • He will call to the heavens above, and the Land to avenge his people.
  • Gather unto Me My devout ones, sealers of my covenant through sacrifice.
  • Then proclaimed the heavens His righteousness, for G-d is the Judge, Selah!
  • Pay heed my people and I shall speak; Israel and I shall bear witness against you; G-d , your G-d, am I.
  • Not for your sacrifices shall I rebuke you, nor are your burnt offerings my concern constantly.
  • I take not from your household any bull, nor from your pens any goats.
  • for Mine is every beast of the forest, the cattle of a thousand mountains.
  • I know every bird of the mountains, and what creeps upon My fields is with me.
  • If I were hungry I would not tell you, for mine is the Eretz Yisrael and its fullness.
  • Do I consume the flesh of bulls or the blood of goats do I drink?
  • Offer G-d confession then redeem to the Most High your vows.
  • And call upon Me in the day of distress I will release you and you will honor me.
  • But to the wicked G-d said, what is the purpose to you to recount My decrees and bear My covenant upon your lips?
  • For you hate rebuke, and you threw My words behind you.
  • If you saw a thief you agreed to be with him, and with adulterers was your lot.
  • Your mouth you dispatched for evil and your tongue adheres to deceit.
  • You sit and against your brother speak, the son of your mother you slander.
  • These you have done and I kept silent, you thought it would be that I would be   like you ; I will rebuke you and lay it clearly before your eyes.
  • Understand now this, you who have forgotten G-d lest I tear you asunder and there be none to rescue.
  • he who offers confession honors me; and one who orders his way I will show him the salvation of G-d.


 The Gematria of Yaakov in the Word Succah

Succah has the same gematria as Yaakov when we use the technique of examining the four letters before and after succah: ס-ו-כ-ה.

פנים ואחור למילה סוכה

                                                 אותיות הא-ב הבאות לפני אותיות סוכה הם: נ , ה , י , ד

אותיות הא-ב הבאות אחרי אותיות סוכה הם : ע , ז , ל, ו


נהיד בגימטריה = 69

עזלו בגימטריה = 113

סוכה (פנים ואחור)     =  182   = יעקב


Truth Lasts Forever

Yaakov was the embodiment of perfection and truth.

מיכה ז:כ

תתן אמת ליעקב חסד לאברהם, אשר נשבעת לאבתינו מימי קדם.

Give truth to Yaakov, and kindness to Avraham; as you swore to our forefathers [to give their descendants the Land of Israel] in days of old (Micha 7:20).

For this reason Yaakov, conceptually, never died. In Hebrew, the words Yaakov is truth and Yaakov never died, are composed of the same letters.

אמת ליעקב = יעקב לא מת


Yaakov Fought Esav on Yom Kippur

Yaakov met his brother Esav on Yom Kippur when he returned to the Land of Israel. After that meeting Yaakov parted and then he built succos for his animals and prayed to G-d in Beis El. Why did he make housing for his sheep a priority?

According to the Ari z”l , the sheep of Lavan had the gilgulim of the souls of the original 600,000 Israelite Nation.   That’s why Yaakov had to work so hard to take ownership of those sheep and then he make succos for their souls, יעקב נסע סכותה .

By Yaakov defeating Esav we too have the strength to utterly defeat our enemies. On this day we do not just bring 11 bull karbanos, but rather, עשתי עשר , which means twelve minus one. This is another active diminution or weakening of the nations of the world.

Because Yaakov fought his battle with Esav on Yom Kippur, today we read the Hoshanos of אערוך שועי “I shall arrange my prayer”. This refers to Yom Kippur, which falls on the same day of the week as the third day of succos; unless it’s shabbos, then we say אום נצורה.

About the Author
Arie E. Pelta, M.D., a Board Certified General and Colorectal Surgeon from the USA, made Aliyah with his wife and 7 children in 2013. He received his Rabbinical ordination in 1997. He is also an active Medical Corps Officer holding the rank of Captain in the IDF Reserves. Dr. Pelta is currently a full time Senior Surgeon practicing in Laniado Hospital (Netanya); specializing in the surgical care of all colorectal diseases.
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