Shabbat Chol Hamoed Succot Hallel Paragraph One
“Praise, you who serve God! Praise the Name of God.
Let the Name of God be blessed from now and forever.
From sunrise to sundown, the Name of God is praised.
God is above all the nations. His Glory is beyond the sky.”
The Ma’asei Hashem (Ma’asei Mitzrayim, Chapter One) explains that if the Egyptian exile was a punishment, we would not have been entitled to be called, “Those who serve God,” until we were free. However, if the exile itself was an act of service; to expand God’s Name in the world, then we were Servants of God even when servants of Pharaoh.
The only way that we were able to maintain a sense of being servants of God when in Egypt was our ability to focus on the broad picture beyond our immediate circumstances. In other words; the Shabbat.
Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky (Emet L’Yaakov, Shemot) explains that the text the slaves studied while in exile was the Psalm of the Shabbat Day.
We sing this psalm with deep appreciation for the gift of Shabbat; the gift of being able to see beyond immediate time: “Let the Name of God be blessed from now and forever.
From sunrise to sundown, the Name of God is praised.” It is through the Shabbat that we are able to relate to God, Who is, “above all the nations. His Glory is beyond the sky.”
The Succah roof with its small open spaces between the S’chach reminds us of our ability to see beyond the physical; to see with Shabbat eyes.