What to Provide:
Chocolate, cakes, and other delicious treats
Mezonos so that people can make a “leshev basukkah” bracha
Water to drink (the water should be served in pitchers rather than in bottles – if you must buy bottles, buy 3 gallon jugs of water; serve in paper cups, not plastic)
After the group has settled in and had the chance to eat, quiet the group for a brief discussion. It is ideal if they can sit.
Share the following with your audience:
Talmud Bavli Sukkah 51 a+b
He who has not seen the rejoicing at the place of the water-drawing has never seen rejoicing in his life.
What made for such wonderful Simcha at the Simchas Beis Hashoeva?
Rambam Laws of Shofar Sukkah and Lulav 8:13
And how was this Simcha [expressed]? The musicians play flutes, harps, fiddles etc. And every person plays the instrument that they know how to play. And whoever knows how to sing, sings. And each person dances and claps and dances and parties the way they know. And words of song and praise are said…
Talmud Bavli Sukkah 53a
It was taught: They said of R. Simeon b. Gamaliel that when he rejoiced at the Rejoicing at the place of the Water-Drawing, he used to take eight lighted torches [and throw them in the air] and catch one and throw one and they did not touch one another;17 and when he prostrated himself, he used to dig his two thumbs in the ground, bend down,18 kiss the ground, and draw himself up again,18 a feat which no other man could do, and this is what is meant by Kidah.19
The celebration of the Simchas Beis Hashoeva was a celebration of water. “On Sukkos we are judged regarding water.” (Mishna Rosh HaShanah 1:2) Here we have provided you with water, along with many other delicious treats. Which treats did you enjoy more, the treats, or the water? You probably enjoyed the treats. Did you even drink the water?
Today, we’ve become so accustomed to water, that we take it for granted. But the Rabbis understood that water is much more precious than these other treats:
Midrash Genesis Raba 13:3-4
Said R. Shimon bar Yohai, ‘Three things are of equal weight with one another, and these are they: the earth, man, and rain.” Said R. Levi bar Hiyyatah, ‘And each of the three of them is written with three consonants, to teach you that if there is no earth, there can be no rain, and if there is no rain, there can be no earth, and if the two of them are not, then there can be no man.’
At this Simchas Beis Hashoeva party, we invite you to appreciate the value of water by taking actions to protect it.
The State of Our Water
• More than half of the world’s major rivers are seriously depleted and polluted. In the United States, more than a third (39%) of streams and rivers are impaired by pollution or habitat degradation, and an additional 8% are threatened.
• 1.1 billion people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water and 2.4 billion people lack access to basic sanitation.
• Twenty-five percent of the world’s population lives in countries approaching a position of serious water stress.
• Large predatory fish in our oceans have been reduced to a mere 10% of pre-industrial levels. That means that 90% of large fish (including tuna, marlin, sharks, cod, and halibut) have been removed.
What can I do?
• Turn off the faucet! Don’t let it run between washing for netilas yadayim, while brushing your teeth, or while lathering dishes.
• Eat sustainable seafood.
• In your yard, select plants that have low requirements for water, fertilizers, and pesticides.
• Use non-toxic cleaning alternatives and low-phosphate or phosphate-free detergents.
• Take unwanted household chemicals to hazardous waste collection centers; do not pour them down the drain.
• Eat less beef.
• Don’t buy bottled water. If you feel that your drinking water is not safe, filter your water.
• Buy eco-friendly products from companies like Seventh Generation.
Note that the paper goods being used are eco-friendly, recycled paper goods from Seventh Generation. Invite people to read and take home the Water Wheels and Stickers and put them to action in their home.