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Three glimpses of Sukkot 5772

Gleanings for Hoshanah Rabbah, Shemini Atzeret, Simchat Torah

At the end of Sukkot come three holidays in rapid succession: first Hoshanah Rabbah, then Shemini Atzeret, then Simchat Torah. On Hoshanah Rabbah we pray for rain and for salvation; on Shemini Atzeret we savor the mystical pause of the 8th day; and on Simchat Torah we rejoice in the wonder of our neverending story.

Hoshanah Rabbah will arise this Wednesday; Shemini Atzeret is this Thursday; and for Reform and Israeli Jews, Simchat Torah is also on Thursday (for everyone else, it'll be on Friday.) I haven't had time/space this year to create any new material on these holidays, but here are some highlights from previous years:

  • Adonai, open my lips - a Hasidic teaching about the mouth as the gate of prayer, for Hoshana Rabbah, 2009

  • Hoshanot - a niggun, and a contemporary prayer by Reb Zalman written for Hoshana Rabbah, 2010

  • A prayer for rain - my own contemporary poem on the themes of the classical tefilat geshem, recited on Shemini Atzeret, 2009

  • The pause of the 8th day - a Hasidic teaching about what it means to celebrate the 8th day of a 7-day holiday, 2007

  • Mobius - my Torah poem written for the final Torah portion in the scroll, read on Simchat Torah, 2008 (this poem is also available in 70 faces, Phoenicia Publishing, 2011.)

For more along these lines, you can visit the Hoshanah Rabbah category, the Shemini Atzeret category, or the Simchat Torah category on this blog. Enjoy, and chag sameach / happy holidays!