1. As we have noted on previous occasions, every night of Sukkos must see an increase in the joy of Simchas Bais Hashoevah. For since the principle “we ascend in holiness” applies to all matters of Torah, it certainly applies to joy, which is a principal element in Torah — “serve G‑d with joy.” And Simchas Bais Hashoevah is the ultimate in joy, as our Sages said: “Whoever has not seen the (joy of) Simchas Bais Hashoevah has not seen joy in his life.”

In addition to the idea of increasing joy every night, the third night of Sukkos has a special distinction — for “with three times it is a chazakah (strength, established fact).” This also elevates the Simchas Bais Hashoevah of the 1st and 2nd nights, for a “chazakah” means strength in the entire matter, not just the third time. The third time shows that the previous two times were also strong and established matters, not temporary phenomena.

An example of this is the verse (Hosheah 6:2): “After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His presence.” This refers to the building of the third Bais Hamikdosh, which, Rashi explains, will also “raise up” the two Bais Hamikdoshs which were destroyed. For through the strength and eternality of the third Bais Hamikdosh, the element of eternality in the concept of the Sanctuary — including the 1st, and 2nd Bais Hamikdoshos — is revealed. That is, the destruction of the first two Bais Hamikdoshos is similar to the taking of a surety, which after a time is returned to its owner.

So too in our case: The Simchas Bais Hashoevah for the third time (on the 3rd night of Sukkos), effects’ the strength of a “chazakah” in the general idea of Simchas Bais Hashoevah, including that of the previous nights.

2. Every night of Sukkos (and the Simchas Bais Hashoevah of that night) is associated with a “guest” — both the regular guest and the Chassidic guest. The guests of the third night of Sukkos are Ya’akov and the Alter Rebbe. Since these two guests are one concept, they share a central theme.

The special quality of Ya’akov is Torah study, as stated (Bereishis 25:27) “Ya’akov was a plain man, dwelling in tents,” which Rashi explains to be “the tent of Shem and the tent of Ever;” and as also stated, “He put statutes for Ya’akov and Torah for Yisroel.”

Although the service of all the forefathers was that they were “chariots” for G‑d, differences do exist between them. Avraham’s principal service was in the realm of chesed (loving kindness); Yitzchok’s was in the realm of gevurah (severity); and Ya’akov’s in Torah study. That is why Ya’akov is called the “choicest of the forefathers,” for Torah study brings one to other aspects of service to G‑d, including chesed and gevurah. Simply, to know how to perform mitzvos and pray etc., one needs to learn Torah, Torah meaning instruction.

This is the connection between Ya’akov and the Alter Rebbe: The Alter Rebbe also emphasized Torah study, particularly in the manner of teaching — the halachah to know what to do, as we see the Alter Rebbe wrote the Shulchan Aruch.

For Torah study to be proper — to arrive at the truth of Torah — one needs the prior service of prayer, as the Alter Rebbe says “Torah after prayer is much greater than Torah before prayer.” Thus in addition to Torah study, we find also the concept of prayer emphasized by Ya’akov — he established the Ma’ariv prayer.

The idea of Torah study is also expressed in today’s portion of Torah — the second of parshas Berachah. It talks of Moshe’s blessing to the tribe of Levi, and it states (Devorim 33:10): “They shall teach Your judgment to Ya’akov, and Your Torah to Yisroel” — teaching the Jews how to live according to Torah.

We also find the concept of prayer in today’s portion, alluded to in the words “To Levi he said.” “Levi” comes from the root meaning “join,” as we find he was called Levi because “This time my husband will be joined with me.” And Jews are joined with G‑d through prayer. Moreover, the function of the tribe of Levi was “to stand before the L‑rd to minister unto Him,” referring to the service of the Bais Hamikdosh, including offering the sacrifices. And service in the Bais Hamikdosh is associated with prayer, for “they (the Sages) instituted prayer in the place of sacrifices.”

Likewise, the conclusion of today’s portion is the blessing to Binyamin, which states “Of Binyamin he said: ... He dwells between his shoulders.” Rashi explains that this refers to the Bais Hamikdosh which was in Binyamin’s portion of the land. And the concept of the Bais Hamikdosh is “a house of prayer for all the nations.”

The lesson then from the “guests” of the third day of Sukkos is that we must increase in our study of Torah. Special emphasis to this is given by it being the third day of Sukkos, for the Talmud explains that the Torah is associated with the number three: “The threefold Torah (Torah, Prophets, Writings) was given to the threefold people (Kohanim, Levi’im, Yisroelim) through the third-born (Moshe) on the third day (of preparation) in the third month (Sivan).”

3. In addition, on the third day of creation, “it was good” was said twice — “good for heaven and good for creatures.” This teaches that it is not enough for one to personally rejoice in Simchas Bais Hashoevah, but he must also encourage others to do likewise. Moreover, the joy must be such that even the nations of the world see openly that Jews are celebrating with the greatest of joy. That is, the idea of “good for creatures” expresses itself even in relation to non-Jews. Through this, non-Jews help Jews celebrate Simchas Bais Hashoevah without any worries or distractions.

This is especially connected with Sukkos, when 70 bullocks were offered, corresponding to the 70 nations of the world. Hence the nations know that their existence is dependent on Jews’ service, and therefore they help Jews in all their matters.

This is particularly emphasized in the Torah reading for the third of Sukkos (1st day of Chol Hamoed). That which was affected through sacrifices in the times of the Bais Hamikdosh, is effected nowadays through the reading and learning in Torah about these sacrifices. As our Sages said: “Whoever engages in the (study of) the Torah of sacrifices, it is as if he actually sacrificed...”

On the third of Sukkos, we read about the greatest number of bullocks sacrificed, more than on the other days of Sukkos. On the first two days we read about the sacrifice of 13 bullocks. On the third day of Sukkos we read “On the second day, twelve young bullocks ... and on the third day, eleven bullocks ...” That is, we read about the sacrifice of the second and third day together, the total of which is greater than the 13 of the first two days. And although on the other days of Sukkos we read about the sacrifices of two days together, their totals are smaller than that of the third day.

Since through the reading in Torah we effect that produced by the actual bringing of these sacrifices, it follows that the influence of Jews on non-Jews on the third day is greater than on other days.

That the existence of non-Jews depends on the service of Jews is particular relevant for our times. When dealing with non-Jews, a Jew cannot forget the idea of the “pride of Ya’akov,” and belittle himself before them — to the extent of being prepared to do things that the non-Jew himself did not expect -even in contradiction to the Shulchan Aruch! In private life, these Jews conduct themselves properly; but when it comes to dealing with a non-Jew, they lose the “pride of Ya’akov” and do things contrary to the Shulchan Aruch, and contrary to the well-being and security of the Jews in the Holy Land.

We must know that “the word of our G‑d endures forever” and “they may contrive or scheme, but it will be foiled; contrive a plot, but it will not materialize, for G‑d is with us.” Even when the “scheme” comes from a Jew who has lost the wisdom of “a wise and understanding people,” G‑d’s will shall prevail.

Since it is now an “auspicious time,” “the season of our rejoicing,” when everything is effected through the medium of joy, all undesirable things will surely be abolished joyously. From now on all Jews shall conduct themselves with the “pride of Ya’akov.” G‑d, the Supreme King of Kings, is with every Jew; and the non-Jewish kings certainly wish to fulfill G‑d’s will that “kings shall be your fosterfathers and princes your fostermothers.”

The above requisite conduct of a Jew is emphasized in Ya’akov’s conduct. Our Sages, on the verse (Bereishis 28:11) “He (Ya’akov) laid down in that place,” comment “Here he lay down; but during the whole twenty years that he was in the house of Lavan he did not lie down ... What (then) was he saying? The 15 Shir Hamaylos (Songs of Ascent) that are in the Book of Tehillim ... [A proof to this is the following psalm] ‘A Song of Ascents by David. Let Israel declare, were it not for the L‑rd Who was with us.’ [and Israel refers to our] father Israel [i.e. Ya’akov].”

The lesson from this: When a Jew is in exile (similar to Ya’akov’s exile in Lavan’s house), and he asks “From where will my help come?” The answer is “My help will come from the L‑rd, Maker of heaven and earth” — as stated in one of the Shir Hamaylos (Psalm 121). Since G‑d is the Maker of the heavens and earth — present tense — meaning He is continuously keeping the creation in existence, it is no wonder that one’s help can come from G‑d. Accordingly, the heavens and earth and all their hosts help Jews in their matters — even in the time of exile.

The “15 Shir Hamaylos (Songs of Ascent) in the Book of Tehillim” are specially associated with Simchas Bais Hashoevah. The Mishnah relates that at the Simchas Bais Hashoevah “Men of piety and good deeds used to dance before them with lighted torches ... and the Levi’im, with harps, lyres ... and other musical instruments were there on the 15 steps leading down from the court of the Israelites to the court of the women, corresponding to the 15 Songs of Ascent in Tehillim. It was upon these that the Levi’im stood with their instruments of music and sang their songs.”

We could further posit that not only did the Levi’im stand on 15 steps corresponding to the 15 Songs of Ascent, but that the “songs” they sang at the Simchas Bais Hashoevah on the 15 steps were the “15 Songs of Ascent in Tehillim.” Indeed, Rashi, on the first psalm of the “Songs of Ascent,” states: “The Songs of Ascent which the Levi’im would say on the 15 steps leading down from the court of the Israelites to the court of the women; and there are here 15 Songs of Ascent.”

Besides this connection of Ya’akov (who said the 15 Songs of Ascent in Lavan’s house) with Simchas Bais Hashoevah (when the Levi’im said the 15 Songs of Ascent standing on the 15 steps), we find special emphasis laid by the Alter Rebbe on the idea of Simchas Bais Hashoevah. Simchas Bais Hashoevah is associated with the water libation — “You shall draw water with joy,” and the Alter Rebbe explains at length the distinction of the water libation compared even to the wine libation.

May it be G‑d’s will that all of us add yet further to the celebration of Simchas Bais Hashoevah, particularly since the third night of Sukkos makes it a “chazakah” — which extends to the entire year, and all the years following.