11-25 Tishri 5771
19 September-3 October 2010
Sunday 19 September / 11 Tishri
Today is called Shem HaShem ("the Name of HaShem", see Likutey Moharan II, 66) since His Name is "completed" through our Yom Kippur repentance and atonement. On this day, immediately following Moses’ final descent from Mount Sinai, he instructed Israel to contribute to the building of the Sanctuary, which is itself a revelation of the Name of G-d. It is appropriate to build and prepare the Succah, which is a prototype of the Sanctuary.
In the days leading up to the festival of Succot it is necessary to build one’s Succah and to purchase one’s Lulav (1 palm branch), Etrog (1 citron), Hadass (3 myrtle branches) and Aravot (2 willow branches) in preparation for the mitzvah of the Four Kinds on the coming festival. It is advisable to procure the Aravot at the last possible moment before the festival since they dry very quickly. (Keeping them wrapped in a damp cloth or silver paper in a refrigerator may help delay this.)
Wednesday 22 September / 14 Tishri
Eve of Succot
There is no better preparation for the coming festival of Succot than to provide food and other festival needs for the needy, and thus it is customary to give charity generously today. Prior to the beginning of Yom Tov one should prepare the Succah for the evening meal. The four kinds should be prepared before the beginning of the festival since the Lulav, Hadass and Aravot must be tied together (symbolizing unity) but tying a knot is forbidden on Yom Tov, though a bow is permissible.
Eiruv Tavshilin (Diaspora): Since the two days of Yom Tov of Succot (Thursday-Friday 23-24 September) are followed immediately by Shabbat, in order to cook on Yom Tov on Friday for the coming Shabbat, it is necessary to prepare Eiruv Tavshilin on Wednesday afternoon prior to the commencement of Yom Tov. For further information on the mitzva of Eiruv Tavshilin click here.
Wednesday night 22 September / 15 Tishri
First night of Succot
On the first night of Succot it is a Torah mitzvah to eat bread in the Succah (parallel to the mitzvah of eating Matzah on the first night of Pesach) in memory of the Exodus from Egypt and the Clouds of Glory with which G-d encompassed Israel in the wilderness.
Wednesday night-Thursday 22-23 September / 15 Tishri
First day of the Festival of Succot
Information about the laws, customs and prayers of Succot is available in the festival prayer book (Machzor) and on Internet. The Haftara on first day of Succot is Zechariah chapter 14, which speaks about the War of Gog and Magog, which will take place on the festival of Succot.
The first day of Succot is the anniversary of the birth and death of the patriarch Jacob.
Thursday night 23 September / 16 Tishri
In memory of the Temple ceremony of Simchat Beit Hasho’evah, drawing pure water from the Shiloah spring on the southern slope of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem for the unique water libation on the Temple altar each day of Succot, it is customary on each of the nights of Chol HaMoed Succot to gather in the synagogue for the recital of Psalms 120-134 to the accompaniment of music, song, dance and joy. It is said that Jonah came to prophecy through the joy of the Temple Simchat Beit Hasho’evah. Observance of Simchat Beit Hasho’evah starts in Israel tonight and in Diaspora tomorrow night, Sunday 4 October.
Thursday night-Friday 23-24 September / 16 Tishri
Second day of Succot
In Israel today is the first day of Chol HaMoed, the intermediate days of the festival, when necessary labors are permitted. However, in the Diaspora today must be observed as the second day of Yom Tov. Both in Israel and the Diaspora, the Four Kinds are taken today. Many endeavor to make the blessing over the Four Kinds as early after the sunrise as possible, even before one’s morning prayers, preferably in the Succah.
Friday night-Saturday 24-25 September / 17 Tishri
Shabbat Chol HaMo’ed, Sabbath of Intermediate Days of Succot
The Arba Minim (Four Kinds: Lulav, Etrog, Hadass and Arava) are not taken on Shabbat. Prior to the Torah reading in the synagogue it is customary to read Kohelet (Ecclesiastes).Today’s Haftara reading is Ezekiel 38:18-39:16 which speaks about the War of Gog and Magog, which will take place on Succot.
Saturday night-Sunday 25-26 September / 18 Tishri
Fourth day of Succot
Today is the 200th Yahrzeit of the outstanding Chassidic luminary, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810). R. Nachman-lovers all over the world will be gathering for special celebrations and festive meals (often held in the late afternoon on Sunday, corresponding to the time of the Rebbe’s ascent from this world) accompanied by singing and dancing and words of encouragement to practice his teachings.
Join AZAMRA’s live global hookup at the advertised time in order to mark this auspicious occasion!
Sunday night-Monday 26-27 September / 19 Tishri
Today is the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Eliyahu ben Shlomo Zalman, the Gaon of Vilna (1720-97).
Tuesday night-Wednesday 28-29 September / 21 Tishri
Many follow the custom of staying awake for all or much of the night of Hoshana Rabba, when the entire book of Deuteronomy and the entire book of Psalms are read. After the morning Shacharit prayer and full Hallel, it is customary for all those in the synagogue who have the Four Kinds to circuit the Torah reading desk seven times while reciting the Hoshana prayers, after which the congregation offer prayers for redemption, rainfall and livelihood. At the conclusion of these prayers it is an ancient custom instituted by the prophets to take five willow branches and beat them five times on the floor.
In the afternoon of Hashana Rabbah it is proper to partake of some refreshment with the appropriate blessings in the Succah prior to leaving for the last time to go back into the house. On leaving the Succah it is fitting to recite the special prayer printed in the festival prayer book. Some have the custom of kissing the very walls of the Succah as they leave as an expression of love for the mitzvah.
According to an oral tradition from the Baal Shem Tov, one should make every effort to pray with proper concentration on Hoshana Rabbah, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, and this is conducive to prayer with proper concentration throughout the year.
Eiruv Tavshilin (Diaspora): Since the two days of Yom Tov of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah (Thursday-Friday 30 September-1 October) are followed immediately by Shabbat, in order to cook on Yom Tov on Friday for the coming Shabbat, it is necessary to prepare Eiruv Tavshilin on Wednesday afternoon prior to the commencement of Yom Tov. For further information on the mitzva of Eiruv Tavshilin click here.
Wednesday night-Thursday 29-30 September / 22 Tishri
Shemini Atzeret, "Eighth day of Solemn Assembly" (all communities); Simchat Torah (Israel)
Both Israel and Diaspora communities celebrate Shemini Atzeret today, with Yizkor prayers for the departed and the Prayer for Rain. However, the Diaspora communities celebrate Simchat Torah separately on Thursday night and Friday. The Shemini Atzeret Torah reading in Diaspora communities is Deuteronomy 14:22 – 16:17 & Numbers 29:35 – 30:1 and the Haftara is I Kings 8:54-9:1.
In Israel, today is Simchat Torah and the Torah Reading is VE-ZOS HABRACHAH, Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12. Additional reading: Genesis 1:1-2:3. Maftir: Numbers 29:35-30:1. Haftara: Joshua 1:1-18. Thus the communities in Israel conclude the book of Deuteronomy and thereby complete the annual cycle of the Torah reading, after which we immediately initiate the new cycle with the reading of the first chapter of Genesis. Both on Wednesday night after the evening service and on Thursday morning before the Torah reading, it is customary in Israel to bring all the Torah scrolls in the synagogue out of the ark and to dance with them in a series of seven Hakafot ("circuits") around the synagogue. It is appropriate to take advantage of this joyous time for our own prayers in our own words "to learn, teach, guard and practice" the Torah. Many communities hold additional Hakafot on Yom Tov afternoon and on the following evening.
Thursday night-Friday 30 September-1 October / 23 Tishri
Issru Chag (Israel); Simchat Torah (Diaspora)
In Israel, where today is the first weekday after the conclusion of the festival season, it is proper to draw the spirit of the Tishri holidays into the rest of the year by observing Issru Chag with festive dress and meals.
In the Diaspora, Simchat Torah is celebrated today. Torah Reading for Simchas Torah (in Diaspora): VE-ZOS HABRACHAH, Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12. Additional reading: Genesis 1:1-2:3. Maftir: Numbers 29:35-30:1. Haftara: Joshua 1:1-18. See yesterday’s entry for Simchat Torah customs.
Friday night-Saturday October 1-2 / 24 Tishri
Shabbat BEREISHIT & Shabbat Mevorachin
In the Diaspora today is Issru Chag. After the conclusion of the season of the High Holidays and Succot, this is the first "regular" Shabbat of the New Year, and it is fitting to celebrate with special joy in order to draw the holiness of the beginning of the year into its continuation. The weekly Torah Reading is Genesis. 1.1-6.8.
Today is Shabbat Mevorachim when we bless the coming month of Marcheshvan. Rosh Chodesh will be on Thursday night-Friday & Shabbat 7-9 October. The Molad (junction of the sun and moon) will be on Friday October 8, 2010 at 20 minutes and 2 halakim after 8 A.M.
Today is the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Yaakov Yosef of Polonnoye (d. 1784) leading student of the Baal Shem Tov and author of the first chassidic work, the Toldos Yaakov Yosef, and of Rabbi Chaim Zanvill Abramovitz, the saintly Ribnitzer (or Rimnitzer) Rebbe (1902-95).
Let’s put special joy into our celebration of this Shabbat, because the way we celebrate Shabbat Bereishit sets the tone for all the Shabbatot of the new year.
Saturday night-Sunday 2-3 October / 25 Tishri
Today is the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev (1740-1809), the great Chassidic luminary and beloved advocate of the Jewish people.