What is the special happiness of the simchas beis hashoeiva?
The simchas beis hashoeiva among other things was a demonstration for honor of the Torah sheba’al peh. Because in the days of the second Beis Hamikdash there was a group, the tzedukim, who were amei ha’aretz; they were politicians who didn’t want to accept the takanos chachomim. Not like some people think, that they were philosophers, thinkers, with a certain shittah. They were amei haaretz, that’s all. And these tzedukim didn’t have any yeshivos; there were no yeshivos for tzedukim because they had no interest in such things. They were just amei ha’aretz politicians. They had a reason why they didn’t want to accept all the takanos chachamim; even some things of Torah sheba’al peh they didn’t accept – and they were afraid of the chachomim because the sages were willing to speak up .
I’ll explain this to you with an example. There was once a kohen gadol who was from the Chashmonaim, and one time he was making a banquet, a big victory banquet, so one man who was there spoke up — maybe he made a mistake, but he spoke up and said “Leave the tzitz hazahav to a true descendant of Aharon!” Which meant to say that you’re was not a real descendant of Aharon; because there was a report that the mother of this kohen gadol had once been a captive in Modi’in among the goyim and a captive among goyim is possul to marry a kohen; which means that this kohen gadol wouldn’t be fit for the kehuna altogether.
Now, the din of a captive among the gentiles being possul is a takanas chachamim. It’s not mideoreisa. From the Torah we say ukmah achazakasah; leave her in her status of being kosher and we’ll say that nothing happened to her while she was being held captive by the gentiles. But the chachomim said a shevuyah, a captive, is possul to a kohen because maybe she was molested by a goy. And because of this accusation, because of the la’az that this chochom said in public that maybe this man’s mother was a shevuyah, sothe kohen gadol became angry and he tried to oppose the sages of the generation because it was the sages who were the ones who upheld takanas chachomim. And because of that, because of their opposition to the sages, they sometimes even disobeyed the sages who told them things of Torah sheba’al peh; things that are not written explicitly in the chumash.
Now, nisuch hamayim, the pouring of the water on the mizbeach, wasone of the things you must do on Sukkos but it’s not written in the Torah. It’s Torah sheba’al peh; it’s a Torah law but it’s not written b’feirush and therefore the Tzedukim didn’t want to practice it. And there was even a case one time when one tzeduki went up to the mizbeach and he took the nisuch hamayim water that had been prepared and instead of pouring it onto the mizbeach, he poured it on his feet to show that he disdained the mitzvah. Now, the people who were there watching the nisuch hamayim ceremony, they were frum people who sided with the chachomim so they pelted him with their esrogim. They hit him with esrogim and he retaliated by calling his soldiers to attack the people. Many people were killed at that time.
So in order to demonstrate that nisuch hamayim is deoreisa, that it’s very important and that it’s part of the true Torah tradition, the chachomim established a very big simchas beis hashoeva; theymadea very great celebration that was centered around this mitzvah of nisuch hamayim — a celebration with singing and dancing all night long. And even the greatest tana’aim of the generation came and danced and sang before the people. The greatest Torah sagescame and danced and sang before the people in order to make a demonstration that nisuch hamayim is deoreisa. That was the simchas beis hashoeva; to celebrate Torah sheba’al peh – to make a demonstration of our happy acceptance of the Torah sheba’al peh. That’s one of the reasons why simchas beis hashoeva is so important.
TAPE # E-160