Last Shabbat was Erev Sukkot and the first day on Saturday. The congregation was invited to visit our Sukkah. Everyone that visited was able to shake the lulav and etrog, sit inside the sukkah, and enjoy a festive luncheon and desserts. We were blessed to have a beautiful day. Unfortunately our sukkah was damaged due to the heavy rains the following day. The panels appear to have dried up fine, and the artwork looks like a watercolor.
Torah and Haftarah for Shemini Atzeret are taken from
(Deuteronomy 14:22-16:17; I Kings 8:54-66).
The Torah reading for Shemini Atzeret contains a myriad of laws including tithes,year of release/in every Sabbatical year i.e., seventh year, money loans were canceled to allow the poor a chance to move out of poverty, release of slaves/after 6 years of continuous service they are given freedom, and observance of the three pilgrimage festivals (Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot).
During the prayer of the Amidah Jews start praying for rain in Israel until Passover.
Simchat Torah on Sunday is when the last lines in the Torah are read and the first lines are read in one breath. This marks the completion of the Torah – reading cycle, and the final parts of Deuteronomy. Thus the story of Creation begins and the renewed cycle of the year ahead.
On Friday night light your Yahrzeit candles first and then the Sabbath candles. Yizkor will be recited during the Shabbat morning service.
The Sukkot Festival on Friday is called Hoshanah Rabbah. Usually if the festival falls during the week the Jewish people walk around the synagogue with their lulav and etrog for the last possible moment to ask G-d to forgive them. (the procrastinators) On the Sabbath day the eighth day of Sukkot is called Shemini Atzeret, when Yizkor service will be recited.
On Sunday the holiday of Simchat Torah will take place. All the Torahs of the synagogue come out from the aron kodesh/holy ark, and the Jewish people have seven hakafot/parades while dancing with the Torah. Even the children are given flags or a small Torah (not a real one) so they, too, can feel the joy of celebrating with the Torah.
I will be visiting my daughter and her family in Pennsylvania and traveling to New York to officiate my goddaughter’s wedding on Saturday evening. We will have Zoom Shabbat services, and I will be on Zoom from PA!
Shabbat Shalom CHag Sameach,
Rabbi Helene Ainbinder