THE TORAH READINGS FOR SUKKOT 15 TISHRI 5781 October 2-3, 2020
CHAG SUKKOT SAMEACH
OCTOBER BIRTHDAYS, ANNIVERSARIES, AND SIGNIFICANT EVENTS
Mazal Tov – Mazal Bueno to all those celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or significant event during the Month of October. If we were together at Temple Kol Hamidbar, we would extend a Tallit over you, recite a special prayer for you, and recite the following blessing (cf Num. 6:24-26):
- May the Eternal One bless you and protect you!
- May the Eternal One deal kindly and graciously with you!
- May the Eternal One bestow favor upon you and grant you peace!
KËIN YEHI RATZON (Let it be so!)
From PSALM 27 (Robert Alter translation)
13.If I but trust to see the [Eternal One’s] goodness,
in the land of the living –
14.Hope for the [Eternal One]!
Let your heart be firm and bold,
and hope for the [Eternal One].
From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/yom-rishon-shel-sukkot
Yom Rishon shel Sukkot – 1st Day of Sukkot
Leviticus 23:33-44 from Parasha Emor (אֱמֹר — Hebrew for “speak”)
The Eternal One spoke to Moses, saying: Say to the Israelite people: On the fifteenth day of this seventh month there shall be the Feast of Booths to the Eternal, [to last] seven days. – Leviticus 23:33-34
In these verses, we are instructed to observe the festival of Sukkot for seven days. The first of the seven days is a sacred day, one on which we refrain from work. Our ancestors brought sacrifices to the Temple on each of the days and lived in a booth. Why would we be expected to dwell in a fragile booth, exposed to the elements? Perhaps it is so that we do not take our possessions for granted. Anyone who has experienced a hurricane or a fire in their home knows just how fragile our dwellings really are. We are told of the lulav and the etrog and we are commanded to rejoice on each of the seven days. How wonderful to be commanded to celebrate!
These verses are from “the second oracle (Zechariah 12–14) [that] points out the glories that await Israel in ‘the latter day’, the final conflict and triumph of God’s kingdom.” See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Zechariah
From Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecclesiastes#Judaism
Book of Kohelet (Ecclesiastes)
In Judaism, Ecclesiastes is read either on Shemini Atzeret (by Yemenites, Italians, some Sepharadim, and the mediaeval French Jewish rite) or on the Shabbat of the Intermediate Days of Sukkot (by Ashkenazim). If there is no Intermediate Sabbath of Sukkot, Ashkenazim too read it on Shemini Atzeret (or, in Israel, on the first Shabbat of Sukkot). It is read on Sukkot as a reminder not to get too caught up in the festivities of the holiday, and to carry over the happiness of Sukkot to the rest of the year by telling the listeners that, without God, life is meaningless.
The final poem of Kohelet (Ecclesiastes 12:1–8) has been interpreted in the Targum, Talmud and Midrash, and by the rabbis Rashi, Rashbam and ibn Ezra, as an allegory of old age.
SUKKOT’S ORIGINS https://reformjudaism.org/jewish-holidays/sukkot
Sukkot is one of the most joyful festivals on the Jewish calendar. “Sukkot,” a Hebrew word meaning “booths” or “huts,” refers to the Jewish festival of giving thanks for the fall harvest. The holiday has also come to commemorate the 40 years of Jewish wandering in the desert after the giving of the Torah atop Mt. Sinai.
Also called Z’man Simchateinu (Season of Our Rejoicing), Sukkot is the only festival associated with an explicit commandment to rejoice. Sukkot is celebrated five days after Yom Kippur on the 15th of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, and is marked by several distinct traditions. One, which takes the commandment to dwell in booths literally, is to erect a sukkah, a small, temporary booth or hut. Sukkot (in this case, the plural of sukkah) are commonly used during the seven-day festival for eating, entertaining and even for sleeping.
Another name for Sukkot is Chag HaAsif (Festival of the Ingathering), representing the importance in Jewish life of giving thanks for the bounty of the earth.
Hallel (praise) refers to a specific selection from the Book of Psalms. These psalms—113 to 118—are sung or recited in the synagogue on all festivals…; they are also associated with the waving of the lulav and etrog during Sukkot (M. Sukkah 3:9).
Sukkah: The sukkah symbolizes the frail huts in which the Israelites lived during their 40 years of wandering in the desert after the Exodus from Egypt. It also serves to remind Jews of the biblical account of how God protected them, provided for their needs in the wilderness, and by implication, still watches over us today.
- A sukkah has to have two and a half walls. Only one can be an existing wall, like the side of a house. The walls may be constructed of any material, generally canvas, wood or metal. Today, it is possible to buy ready-to-assemble sukkah kits.
- The roof is to be temporary, covered with loose branches from trees or anything that grows out of the ground, and has been cut off from the ground. According to tradition, this roof covering, s’chach [סְכָךְ – thatch], should give shade and yet allow those in the sukkah to see the stars through the roof at night.
Lulav and Etrog: Sukkot celebrates the fall harvest, expressed by blessing and waving the lulav and the etrog, symbols of the harvest; by building and decorating a sukkah; and by extending hospitality to friends and family.
The lulav is a combination of date palm [lulav], willow [aravah] and myrtle [hadass] branches, held together by a woven palm branch. The etrog, or citron, is a lemon-like fruit with a wonderful citrus smell. When reciting the blessing over the lulav and etrog, one should wave them in six directions—north, south, east, west, up, and down. This action symbolizes that God can be found in all directions, not only in one particular place.
The traditional ritual for the lulav and etrog is as follows:
- Stand facing east. Place the lulav (with the spine facing you, myrtle on the right and the willows on the left) in your right hand and the etrog in your left hand. Bring your hands together so that the lulav and etrog are side by side. [Sefardim place the lulav in the center, aravah on each side, hadass on each side and tilted on the spine.]
- Next, recite this special blessing: Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al n’tilat lulav. “Blessed are You, Adonai our God, sovereign of the universe, who has sanctified us through Your mitzvot and ordained the taking of the lulav.”
- On the first day of the festival, add the Shehecheyanu
- Shake the lulav in all directions – east, south, west, north, up, and down – while reciting or chanting the words Hodu l’Adonai ki tov ki l’olam chasdo. “Give thanks to God, for God is good, for God’s loving-kindness endures forever.” [Customs vary.]
Many families build their own sukkah at home, or visit the sukkah of other families. Extending hospitality, especially to the needy, is a Sukkot custom. Many Jews invite guests outside of their families to join them for a holiday meal in the sukkah.
It is a mitzvah to celebrate in the sukkah. This is done primarily by eating meals in the sukkah, especially on the first night of the Festival. Whenever one eats in the sukkah one recites haMotzi, the prayer over bread, and then adds a special blessing:
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu leisheiv basukah.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, sovereign of the universe, who has sanctified us through your mitzvot and commanded us to dwell in the sukkah.
We recite MI SHEBËRACH for the victims of brutality, abuse, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, violence, and war; for all those at home alone; for all those in need of physical, emotional, and mental healing. “R’fuah sh’lëmah” – a complete recovery!
We say KADDISH YATOM for those of our friends and families who have died and been buried this last week; those in the period of Sh’loshim (30 days since burial); those who have died in the last year; and those whose Yahrzeits/Anyos occur at this time; as well as the victims of brutality, disease, natural disasters, war and violence. We remember, too, those victims of the Shoah (Holocaust) who died at this time of year and have us to say “Kaddish” for them. “Zichronam liv’rachah” – May their memories be for blessing.
TORAH STUDY AND SUKKOT SHAZOOM
We will meet for Torah Study and Shazoom this evening, Friday, October 2, 2020, Erev Sukkot.
Zoom continues being updated for security and performance features. In some cases, there are extra steps to go through in order to join a meeting. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this Friday evening:
Topic: Torah Study
Time: Oct 2, 2020 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Oct 2, 2020 07:30 PM Arizona
To join the Torah Study and/or Sukkot Shazoom Meeting click on the following link [you may need to copy it into your browser]:
Meeting ID: 725 1050 0854
Hint: The last character of the password is the number zero.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sukkot Sameach,