Rabbi Zvi Elimelech of Dinov [Chasidic, 1783?-1841]
B’nei Yissaschar: Ma’amarei Tishrei 10:19
Job was complaining about his suffering, but when he saw that the third wall of a sukkah need be only one tefach (handsbreadth) wide, he immediately felt better.
Rabbi Zvi Elimelech of Dinov explains: We read in Psalms, “See, You have made my days like handsbreadths” (39:6). This teaches that the dimensions of the sukkah allude to the types of activities in which one engages during one’s life.
A person’s activities can be divided into three categories:
1. “Tov”: that which is good for him or her;
2. “Mo’il”: that which is helpful to him or her; and
3. “Arev”: that which is desirable to him or her.
A person may engage in the first two categories as much as s/he wants, writes Rabbi Zvi Elimelech, but the third category should be used only as necessary. This is alluded to by the minimum design criteria for a sukkah. A sukkah must have two complete walls, plus a third wall which is a tefach [handsbreadth] wide. This alludes to the fact that a person may engage in a full measure of those activities which are “tov” [good] and mo’il,” [helpful] but should engage only in a small measure of those activities which are “arev” [desirable].
In order for us successfully to limit participation in the third category of activities, we must realize that our lives in this world are fleeting. This is alluded to by the sukkah, which must be at least seven tefachim wide by ten tefachim high [approximately 28 inches by 40 inches].
After Yom Kippur, when we have repented, we move into the flimsy sukkah to demonstrate our awareness that during the seventy (7 x 10) years of a person’s life, one should not feel at home in this world, but should feel like a traveler passing through.
When Job learned this lesson, it made his suffering easier to bear. Once one recognizes that this life is only a way-station, one does not expect it always to be comfortable or pleasant.