By Rabbi Berach Steinfeld
Succos is one of the Shalosh Regalim. The mitzva of Aliya L’regel to the Bais Hamikdash applied to all three Regalim. One may try to understand what the mitzva of traveling up to the Bais Hamikdash is all about. Is this mitzva a way of one getting to the Bais Hamikdash to be close to Hashem, or is there an actual mitzva of traveling up to the Bais Hamikdash?
There are a number of differences that can be seen when analyzing this. Is one mekayem the mitzvah of Oleh Regel if he travels by car? If the mitzvah itself is to come close to Hashem in the Bais Hamikdash, it would be sufficient. If the traveling itself is the mitzvah, then going via car would be insufficient.
To further analyze the mitzvah we may ask the following question. Is one required to have kavana that he is doing a mitzvah while going up to Yerushalayim, thereby according every step kavana and simchas hamitzva? If this is so, would this concept apply to doing other mitzvos, like Gemilas Chassadim? Is there a mitzvah in every step or is the actual going a “heichi timtza” (making it possible) to do the mitzvah?
The Ritva in Succah, daf chof heh, amud bais says that the “etzem” going up to Yerushalayim is in and of itself a mitzvah.
The following question arises; is there a possibility that there are actually two mitzvos here; the first one is going to the Bais Hamikdash and the second one is actually traveling to Yerushalayim?
The Gemara in Sotah, daf chof bais says that since one gets rewarded for the steps taken to go to Shul, one should walk to a Shul that is farther away in order to take more steps. We see the opposite mentioned when it comes to the mitzvah of Succah. We say that one should go to the closer Succah, not the farther Succah.
We will explain the difference between these cases. Going to Shul is an act of getting closer to Hashem; therefore the fact that one is walking is in and of itself a mitzvah. Walking to do any other mitzvah is just a “heichi timtza” to get to the mitzvah.
A proof of this may be brought from the Gemara that says that the ikkar schar of going to a drasha is the walking to the drasha. That is why the women and children who may not understand the drasha still have a mitzvah to go to get closer to Hashem.
May we all be zocheh to get close to Hashem this Yom Tov.