Succot Lecture Part Four: Conversions
So we have the ‘as if’ idea which is that we can be whatever we were. We have the idea of being able to create the impossible. And once we have ‘as if’, and once we have the halachic reality of danim efshar me she e-efshar, even if we believe that something is impossible, halacha says it is possible. So the first thing we have to realize is that we, who had to bow because we were in the presence of the shechina, can take that very shechina and use it when we build our succas, whether last night or whether now between Yom Kippur and Succot.
That cloud that forced Moshe Rabbeinu to bow, that cloud is in the merit of Moshe. The 6 clouds are in the merit of Aharon. The 6 clouds that surrounded us. But there was a 7th cloud that was the presence of Moshe Rabbeinu, you can look up the Ramban on that passuk, in chapter 34, verse 10 of Shemot. You can look up the Ramban and if you look up the Vilna Gaon you see that ,he is incredible, he says that the Shechina was only there until they crossed the yam suf or there is a way to read him where he says that the only one who understood the shechina was in 7th cloud, was Moshe Rabbeinu. It was only once Moshe said this tefilla, “Hashem velifninu ani ve’amecha” – we must be different. “You must manifest on our presence so that everyone knows that we are different,” then the Shechina appeared in the cloud to all who were present.
And this is halchically and conceptually true. How does the gemara in Shabbat, the gemara in Yevmot, the gemara in Nedarim, how do they all describe the process of conversion? What do we say about a convert?
He who is coming “lechasos tachas kanfei hashechina,” that one who comes to convert is coming to be wrapped and protected so we treat is as a halachic reality. We learn this from Ruth. Because what does Boaz say to Ruth, “G-d should repay you for everything you did, asher baas lachsos tachas kenafav, you came to be wrapped and to be protected under his wings.”