Jewish Holidays

Shemini Atzeret: Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

June 29, 2006, by

We were given the commandment to take the Lulav and Etrog so that we would have a reminder during Sukkot that the happiness we feel on the holiday is to be directed towards Hashem. The Sefer HaChinuch explains that on other holidays, we do not need such a reminder because of the various commandments associated with […]

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 […]

From Seven to Eight – From Sukkot to Shmini Atzeret

June 29, 2006, by

Is ‘eight’ a magic number in Sefer Vayikra? Or, is it only coincidental that: * In Parshat Shmini – the ‘eighth day’ is chosen for the dedication of the Mishkan; * In Parshat Tazria – the ‘eighth day’ is chosen for the “brit Milah” of a male child; * In Parshat Metzora – the ‘eighth […]

How to leave the Sukkah without creating an uproar

June 29, 2006, by

To what extent does one “live in” the Sukkah on Shmini Atzeret? There are a variety of customs in connection with the degree to which the Sukkah is “lived in” on Shmini Atzeret. One custom is to eat both the evening meal and the following day’s meal in the Sukkah, as on Sukkot. A second […]

Mashiv HaRuach: Jewish Prayer for Wind and Rain

June 29, 2006, by

How do Jews pray for wind and rain? Actually, we are not ready at this point in the season to request rain; it is a bit early, and the “olai regel,” “the people who have gone up by foot,” to come to Yerushalayim for the Holiday in fulfillment of the Biblical command, need to get […]

Tefilat Geshem: Special Prayer for Rain

June 29, 2006, by

What is “Tefilat Geshem?” There are three items in the Jewish Liturgy which have been called “Prayers for Rain.” Two of these are really more accurately described as: The annual introduction and perhaps, request of permission, to praise G-d as The Deliverer of life-giving moisture to all of Humanity, and to all of Nature. This […]

The Real “Atzeret” and its Connection to Sukkot

June 29, 2006, by

The name “Atzeret” is actually used most in the Talmud to refer to the holiday of Shavuot. Shavuot can be seen as the “completion” of Pesach – for Pesach, commemorating the Exodus, represents our “physical” birth as a nation, while Shavuot, commemorating our receiving of the Torah, represents our “spiritual” birth. Similarly, the holiday of […]

Simchat Torah: A Celebration of Our Relationship with God

June 26, 2006, by

The holiday of Simchat Torah is a great invention of the Jewish People in their Exile. It celebrates the completion of and the beginning of the “Reading of the Torah.” Since the Shmini Atzeret-Simchat Torah Holiday has no intrinsic Mitzvot, but is a celebration of the relationship between G-d and Israel, the Jewish People created […]

Shmini Atzeret: An Introduction

June 26, 2006, by

Shmini Atzeret is the holiday which is celebrated on the eighth day counting from the beginning of “Sukkot.” In Israel, it is celebrated for one day, which is a combination of “Shmini Atzeret” and “Simchat Torah.” In the Diaspora, “Shmini Atzeret” and “Simchat Torah” are separated, with “Shmini Atzeret” being celebrated on the eighth day, […]