Building the sukkah
By Gidi Fine, Becky Dunkel and Leah Mitchell
- We begin the earthly mitzvah of building the Sukkah immediately following the spiritual heights of Yom Kippur as an affirmation of God’s permeation throughout the physical, as well as the spiritual, world.
- Min height: 10 tefachim (four fingers)
- Min width: 7x7 tefachim
- Max height: 20 Amot (elbow to fingertip).
- Max width: Rambam says the Sukkah can be built to a width of several kms, whilst the Shulchan Aruch says there is no limit!
- Your Schach must:
1. have grown from the ground
2. now be detached from the ground
3. not be able to become ritually impure
Schach must be thick enough that there is more shade than sun in the sukkah, but you should be able to see some stars at night.
By Dassi Taub
Stand facing East and take the Lulav and etrog with its pitum pointed downwards.
Say the Bracha:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְותָיו, וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת לוּלָב:
When shaking for the first time, add:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְמַן הַזֶּה:
Flip the etrog so the pitum faces up. Now you shake the L+E three times in each direction: to the front, right, back, left, up and down.
Shabbat and Sukkot
By Sheba Gordon and Aviya Wiener
On first day sukkot we read from two Torahs:
We learn the obligations of how to bring and treat korbanot. Hashem also tells Moshe about the importance of keeping Shabbat, Pesach, Shavuot, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot.
Hashem outlines that on the 15th of Av we shall do no work, and instead celebrate the festival of Sukkot. Hashem says you should bring a Korban Olah ( -13 young bulls and 2 rams with no blemishes, mixed with flour and oil,) and (you should also bring male goat for) a Korban Chatat- sin offering.
Shabbat of sukkot is different from a regular shabbat, here’s how:
We eat in the Sukkah and make the bracha ‘Leyshev basukkah” before eating. During davening we add special additions for shabbat, as well as yaaleh veyavoh, and in benching we add both retzeh and yaaleh veyavoh.
We don’t shake lulav and etrog. This year the first day of sukkot falls out on shabbat, which means that we will only start shaking the lulav and etrog on the second of chag.
Sukkah decoration are Muktzeh- this means that if your decorations fall down on shabbat you have to wait until after shabbat to hang them back up.
Hoshana Raba is the 7th day of sukkot and marks the last day before Hashem seals our final judgment for the year. On this day we recite 7 rounds of hoshanot during shacharit. We complete this circuit by striking the ground with bundles of five aravot branches, commemorating the aravot placed in the Beit Hamikdash during sukkot.
Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah
Praying for rain
The Mishna in Masechet Rosh Hashana outlines that the world is judged four times throughout the year. On Sukkot, we are judged for rain. Our tefillah for rain is delayed until Shmini Atzeret so that we can sit in the Sukkah in comfort. On Shmini Atzeret, the famous tefillat geshem recounts events involving water in the lives of Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov, Moshe, Aharon and the 12 tribes. Interestingly, Rava proclaims in Masechet Taanit that “the day of rainfall is greater than the day the Torah was given.” The Maharsha explains this controversial statement by outlining the far more wide-reaching impact rain has on humanity than the Torah. The Torah only affects the lives of those who choose to embrace it, while rain is important for the life of every single person. By juxtaposing Simchat Torah and Shmini Atzeret, the Rabbis are giving us a challenge. We must strive to ensure that observance of Mitzvot and Torah learning has the same impact and is just as vital for our sustenance as rain. Chag Sameach!
We began Elul hearing the shofar each day followed by Le'david. The general premise is that we recite it as long as we are being judged for the new year. Thus, some have the custom to say it until Yom Kippur (the day when Moses secured complete forgiveness). However, others continue until Shemini Atzeret (or Simchat Torah).
Since the customs are numerous, each individual and community should embrace their unique traditions, in the sincere hope that we all be inscribed and sealed for a sweet new year!
Shemini Atzeret directly follows the seven days of Sukkot and is considered to be the eighth day. It is technically separate to Sukkot however some Rabbis consider it to be connected. They believe this because Shemini Atzeret is informed by Sukkot and is devoted to the spiritual aspects of it.
Simchat Torah, everyone’s favourite day of the Jewish calendar. Situated immediately after sukkot, comes the two of chag of Shemini Atzeret and Sinchat Torah (in israel it is combined into one.) Simchat Torah translates to “rejoicing of the Torah”, it is the day where we conclude and begin the new annual Torah cycle. It is a very joyous day marked through dancing and singing around the Torah.