Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hoshana Rabbah, Shmini Atzeres, and Simchas Torah by Rabbi Yair Hoffman

Five Towns Jewish Times  

HOSHANA RABBAH    Hoshanah Rabbah is a very holy and special day. It means the “great salvation” and is celebrated on the seventh day of Sukkos. The judgment which was written on Rosh Hashanah and sealed on Yom Kippur is handed down on this day.

The Yalkut Shimoni explains that it is on the 21st of the month because Hashem’s Name of “I shall be” is equivalent to this in Gematria.

The davening for Shacharis is like Shabbos morning and the baal tefillah wears a kittel. We circle the bimah seven times on Hoshana Rabbah; during the regular days of Sukkos we circle the bimah only once. We also take a bundle of aravos and hit them on the ground until the leaves fall off.

There is also a custom to stay up all night on Hoshana Rabbah and study Torah.  Chassidim have the custom to read from Sefer Dvarim on the night of Hoshana Rabbah.  This is done without a bracha.  There is a debate between Rav Elyashiv and Dayan Yitzchok Weiss (Minchas Yitzchak VIII #84) as to whether someone from Minhag Ashkenaz may participate in this unique nighttime Torah reading. 


Shemini Atzeres is the culmination of Elul, the Yamim Nora’im, and Sukkos, times and holidays where we have developed an intense closeness with Hashem. But Shemini Atzeres is actually a new and independent Yom Tov, where Hashem says to us, “Stop. Don’t go. Stay with Me one last day.” This is the explanation of the word “Atzeres — stop.” [...]


While in Eretz Yisrael Simchas Torah and Shmini Atzeres are celebrated on the same day, in chutz laAretz Simchas Torah is on the second day of Yom Tov. The completion of the cycle of Torah reading is celebrated. [...]

1 comment :

  1. I truly like to reading your post. Thank you so much for taking the time to share such a nice information.


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