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Jewish Holidays

Celebrating Sukkot With Culinary Stars’ Favorites

October 6, 2008, by

Starry, starry nights, eating meals in the Sukkah with its leafy roof partly open to the star-studded sky, and enjoying a variety of vegetables and fruits from the final fall harvest is always a memorable and spiritual experience. The Sukkah symbolizes the temporary shelters in which our ancestors lived during their 40 years in the […]

High Holiday Baking

September 25, 2008, by

Cakes, cookies and breads that I bake for the Holidays, I bake only for the Holidays. Except for testing out recipes, that is. In this way, my High Holiday baked goods are cherished on two levels: First, my family looks forward to these special foods that come just once a year. And second, I have […]

About Work Restrictions

June 29, 2006, by

All Jewish holidays and observances, with the exception of some fasts, begin on the evening previous to the first day. Except as noted, all require special additional prayers and services are held in the Synagogue. All Jewish Holidays with Sabbath-like restrictions require that all normal business, school or secular activities cease about two hours before […]

Gratitude and Simchat Torah

June 29, 2006, by

Did the angels agree that Man should be given the Torah? Not at first, according to the Midrash. However, when they protested, G-d told Moshe to answer them. He said to them, “Do you have parents, that you should need a command to honor and fear them? Do you have jealousy, that you should need […]

The “Chatanim”: Chatan Torah and Chatan Bereishit

June 29, 2006, by

Who are the “Chatanim?” First of all, “Chatanim” is the plural of “Chatan,” which means bridegroom. This word befits the occasion, for the Jewish People on this day is expressing its love for the Torah and for its Author. Why is the plural used? How many bridegrooms are needed at a wedding? In this case, […]

“Hakafot”: “Circles in the Square”

June 29, 2006, by

What are Hakafot? On the night preceding Simchat Torah and again the following morning [“they could’ve danced all night!”], Jews all over the world (in Israel, Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are rolled into one) dance joyously with the Torah. Each dance is begun with a circuit of the bimah (the central platform in the […]

Simchat Torah: Rejoicing With the Torah

June 29, 2006, by

What appears to be the last day of Sukkot, and what in the Diaspora is the “second” day of Shmini Atzeret, is called Simchat Torah, literally “the joy of/over Torah.” On every Shabbos during the year we read a portion of the Torah (The Pentateuch), called a “Parsha.” Simchat Torah is the day we complete […]

Parshat V’zot Habracha & Transition

June 29, 2006, by

On Simchat Torah, we read Parshat V’zot HaBracha. At first glance, it seems only appropriate that this portion be read, as the very foundation of Simchat Torah is the siyum (completion) of the Torah. However, if we probe a bit further, we will see that V’zot ha-Bracha is quite unusual. V’zot ha-Bracha is a parsha […]

Stories that Teach

June 29, 2006, by

Throughout Sukkot, special offerings were brought on the Altar in the Temple. Our Sages have taught us that the 70 special bull sacrifices brought on Sukkot were for the benefit of the 70 nations of the world. On Shemini Atzeret, the holiday that appears to be the eighth day of Sukkot, only one bull sacrifice […]