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Harav Y. Reuven Rubin Shlita

There is an old tale that has found its way into many cultures and lands. It seems there was once a poor water carrier who would eke out his meagre living by carrying pails of water from a well that was on the outskirts of the town. The fellow worked hard, shlepping his load, tramping along the path then selling the precious water for a few pennies.  He only had two pails, both carried on either end of his wooden yoke. It seems one pail was perfect, no leaks, no holes, and very suitable for the task at hand. The other was not so perfect, it had small cracks that leaked out a trickle of the precious cargo.

One day our hero overheard a heated discussion between the two pails. The perfect one boasted how much better he was than the other, with no leakage and no loss of water. The other pail just frowned and whispered that on their next trip the whole pail should look out and see the pathway they both were treading. Well, the next day the sturdy leakproof pail actually did look out on the pathway and lo and behold saw something he never noticed before. His side of the trail was barren, dried ground baked hard from the sun, whilst on the side of the leaking pail, bloomed flowers and grass.

From this quaint tale we learn a powerful lesson, it isn’t always what we perceive as perfect that creates living flowers, rather those we consider broken are often the impetus for vibrant growth.

As we wind our way into our Succos, we should think back of what the last few weeks has spoken to our hearts. We should realise that all those tears and introspection have created the power for our future spiritual growth. It is just at this intersection of feelings that we enter the most flimsy of abodes, with joy in the knowledge that it is just in this leaking fragile place that we can sit and bask in the glowing love of the Eibishter.

I often heard from the Bobover Rebbe, HaRav Shlomo Ztl of how Yieden were able to fulfil the mitzvah of eating in the succah during the darkest days of the Churban. In the ghetto of Bochnia the Yom Tov of Succos approached the Yieden with downcast hopes and trepidation. How would they celebrate this time of joy, or even keep the very rudiments of its cherished laws? One enterprising Yied found an answer of how to build a succah under the hateful eyes of the Nazi’s. He took a long table from one of the disused shuls, stood it on its length and then dropped wet clothing from the topmost legs therein creating walls. On top were placed a few twigs and instantly, they had a Succah. Obviously only one person at a time could fit in between the legs, and sitting was out of the question. No matter, Yieden always find a way. A whole day singular Yieden would pass the “drying laundry” look furtively around, slide between the “walls” and make a brocha on whatever scraps of food they had. The Rav described the fervour in which these silent tzadikim “chapped” their mitzvah, staying a few moments then scampering away. The Rav’s smile as he depicted those moments left a clear picture on those blessed to be born in another time and place. His enthusiasm in telling how these broken souls achieved that which we can never fathom, brought to life scenes we will hopefully never have to experience. It was just this passion that created the merit which later flowered into a revitalised Klall Yisroel. Any student of history would never have imagined that from such “leaking buckets” the citadels of today’s Torah World would be born. The sheer humaneness of those souls born to such challenges, were the fuel that energised today’s spiritual growth.

Now we experience a different sort of “leaking” one born from an overwhelming torrent of materialism. The earth is left parched by the senseless worship of the superficial and many of our brethren have fallen by the wayside. Yes, we may be all “leaking” in one way or another, but stop and look around you, see the brightness in the smiles of our children and the steadfastness of the many who seek to grow.

To be imperfect is to accept your challenge, your personal tikun in this world. Acknowledging that we have to face and work on our “leakage” is the stuff of future expansion.

Rosh Hashonah, Yom Kippur, were holy spaces, wherein we could each resolve to fix that which is broken. Succos, ahh Succos, is a celebration wherein we are joyous in the knowledge that it is the very acceptance that yes, we have our faults, but we seek to fix them with heartfelt prayers. The cracks in the roof of the sukkah become part and parcel of the great mitzvah it encompasses, we look at the stars and know that the Eibishter holds us each in His Kedusha and gives us the audacity to move ahead. No one is perfect, we all carry a bit of pain. However, the succah is eternal, and holds us all together within The Eibishter’s embrace. With this we will move together, step by step, towards our final Redemption with the coming of the Moshiach.