Sukkot & Simchat Torah A spectacular celebration of Jewish unity, faith in G‑d, and the completion of the annual Torah reading cycle.
Shemini Atzeret / Simchat Torah Virtually everything you need to know about the holidays of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah: How-To Guides, Essays and Insights, Recipes, Stories, Multimedia, and much more!
Mitzvahs & Traditions
Chol Hamoed By Dinka Kumer Chol Hamoed refers to the “intermediate period” of the festivals of Passover and Sukkot. They are the days sandwiched between the beginning and ending holy days of both festivals.
Rejoice! In the holiday prayers, each festival is given a short description. Sukkot is simply described as the “Season of our Rejoicing”!
Hoshana Rabbah G‑d told Abraham: “If atonement was not granted to your children on Rosh Hashanah, I will grant it on Yom Kippur; if atonement was not attained on Yom Kippur, it will be given on Hoshana Rabbah.”
I'm a Jew and I'm Proud By Levi Avtzon Before we roll back the Torah to Bereishit, let us reflect for a moment on Moses' final words: "Fortunate are you, O Israel…"
United We Sit By Levi Avtzon At the core of Sukkot is the quest for oneness. Let's take a look...
Simchat Torah Questionnaire By Mendel Kalmenson Please take a few moments to mentally fill out this form. Please think neatly and clearly, so that your answers are thinkable and organized.
Souls in the Rain By Yosef Y. Jacobson As in a marriage, when the wedding-party is over, the couple's true intimate life begins. Shemini Atzeret is described as the "time of intimacy with the Divine." At this time, we ask for rain - the symbol of intimacy between heaven and earth.
Tales from the Past
The Anatomy of an Encounter By Yosef Zaklos Netanyahu recalls sitting in his office when there was a knock on the door. "There is this gentleman who wants to see you. He says he knows you." In comes this strapping chassid, with a beard and peyot. "Do I know you?" Netanyahu said...
Simchat Torah of a Cantonist No words were necessary. I knew I was to be one of those boys who would be sent away from home, perhaps never to see my parents again.
When the Rebbe Invited Louis the Drunk By Levi Bukiet Louis had sadly become a drunk and had drifted away from family life. "Do you know if anyone might know how to contact him?" the Rebbe asked.
The Wonder of the Willow By Shimona Tzukernik The tree gives no fruit and the leaves give off no fragrance. Yet it is precisely in that “blandness” of being that we recognize the presence of something beyond. The willow’s minimalism is indicative of the inner point of the Jewish soul which is indivisible and thus empty of discernable distinctive qualities…
Melting the Icicle By Elad Nehorai Sometimes we feel like we're living in a freezer. An icicle hanging in a cave. Our dreams are stuck in dream mode. Frozen.
At the core of all our thoughts and beliefs lies the conviction that the underlying reality is wholly good. That evil lies only at the surface, a thin film of distortion soon to be washed away by the waves.