Torah: Ha’azinu (Deuteronomy 32:1-52) Haftarah: (II Samuel 22:1-51)
Erev Yom Kippur begins September 15 -16 Please have an easy Fast. Remember if you need to take medicine, have to eat or are ill, please do this. G-d wants you to stay healthy. It is your good intention to pray for forgiveness He judges.
Erev Sukkot Begins September 20 … We are beginning the 8 days of Sukkot known as…He-Hag -The Holiday, Zeman Simhatenu-The Season of Our Joy, Feast of the Tabernacles, Hag-ha-Asif- The Holiday of the Ingathering/Harvest Festival and Shemini Atzeret- The Eighth Day of Sukkot.
This Torah parash is the song of Moses, providing a final review of Israel’s history. Moses is told to climb Mount Nebo, from which he will be able to see the Land of Israel. There he will die, without entering the land.
A concept and value from this Torah portion is to remember the days of old. In his poetic declaration to the Israelites, Moses tells the people to remember the days of old, and they should consider the years of ages past (Deuteronomy 32:7). Rashi suggests that we should remember and consider history in order to be conscious of what may happen in the future. Others suggest that studying history and remembering it will help us shape our future events in a way that will not repeat the disasters of the past. As George Sanatayana once wrote: ”Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to fulfill it.”
The Haftarah (concluding portion of the Torah service) is taken from the Book of Samuel, the Haftarah is a song of thanksgiving and a farewell song by King David. David traces Divine Providence in his own amazing escapes from persecution and renders thanks to G-d for his deliverance and victories.
The theme link between the Torah portion and the Haftarah is that of thanksgiving to G-d. Just as David traces his victories in life to G-d, so too does Moses impress upon the Israelites the importance of keeping one’s loyalty for G-d and faith in Israel’s infinite mercies and kindness.
The Four Species for Sukkot, the Lulav and Etrog. It is a positive commandment from the Torah to gather together the Four Species during Sukkot:
“The First Day” refers to the first day of Sukkot.
“Fruit of goodly trees” refers to the etrog (citron).
“Branches of palm trees” refers to the lulav.
“Boughs of leafy trees” refers to the myrtle.
“Willows of the brook” refers to the aravot or hoshanot.
The four are lumped together under the inclusive term lulav, since the lulav is the largest and most prominent. Thus, the mitzvah is to wave the lulav, this actually refers to the four taken together as one.
While the lulav is tall and straight and the myrtle has fragrance and the willow does not, each represents a part of the Jewish people…Kohanim, Levites, and Israelites. So the question I asked and did not answer was…”What is the etrog?” The etrog was the symbol for all citrus fruits in the world. The shape of the etrog looks like a heart. While each of the Four Species stands alone and separated from each other, they remain lost and weak. Together they are strong and united. So we recite special blessings for the lulav(and myrtle and willow), and the etrog with the piton downward. After the blessings we gather them together and recite another blessing because they are together and strong.
When the Jewish people do not stand together we are at our weakest moments. Yet, when we gather together we are strong and joyous!
May our New Year remind us as we dwell in the Sukkah, how fragile each of us are, how life can turn on a moment’s notice, and how strong we are when helping each other and doing mitzvot.
People keep the sukkah up for the whole eight days. The custom is to invite Ushpizin(guests from our past and friends today) into our sukkah.
First night – Abraham and Sarah
Second night -Isaac and Rebecca
Third night – Jacob(Israel) and Leah (his first wife)
On the Fourth night Joseph invites Rachel (Jacob’s second wife and the mother of Joseph: she died giving birth to Benjamin)
Fifth night -Moses and Zippora
Sixth night- Aaron and Miriam(Aaron’s sister and they are both Moses’s siblings)
Seventh night -David and Ruth (The Moabite princess who was the first convert to Judaism and had the honor of being King David’s great-great grandmother)
The eighth night Jews celebrate Sukkot is Hoshanah Rabah when Jews take the willows and shake off the remaining leaves (which symbolize one’s sins and the last moments to repent).
Shemini Atzeret (Yizkor is recited) the next 2 days are Simchat Torah, when Jews around the world celebrate the joy of Torah! This ends the High Holidays season.
Shabbat Shalom, v’ G’mar Hatimah Tovah (May you be sealed in the Book of Life) v’Hag Samaech (holiday joys),
Rabbi Helene Ainbinder. Michael and I will be celebrating our grandson, Benjamin becoming a Bar Mitzvah. Enjoy your beautiful holidays, with family, friends and Beit Chaverim.