This week at Azamra
19 Tishri 5782 / 25 September 2021

Torah Calendar

6-26 Tishri 5782
September 12-October 2, 2021

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Attributes of the month of Tishri: Ruling permutation of the letters of HAVAYAH: VAV KEH YOD KEH, contained in the final Hebrew letters of the words of the verse vayir'U otaH sareY par'oH, "and the ministers of Pharaoh saw her" (Genesis 11:29). The month's corresponding letter is: LAMED; Human attribute: COITION; Body Part: GALL BLADDER; Tribe: JOSEPH; Constellation: MOZNA'IM (Libra, the Scales).

Sunday night-Monday September 12-13 / 7 Tishri

Those who have made commitments to give charity (e.g. for being called to the Torah reading etc. on the High Holidays) should be sure to fulfill their commitments promptly so as not to provide an argument for the accusing forces on Yom Kippur.
Today is the anniversary of the birth and death of Zebulun son of Jacob.

Everyone who recites Psalm 27, "HaShem is my light", morning and evening from the beginning of Elul until the end of Succot is assured he will live out his years in goodness and pleasantness, and he removes from himself all the accusing forces and nullifies all harsh and evil decrees, and he will win his case in the Judgment.
-- ARI

Tuesday September 14 / 8 Tishri

Today is the anniversary of the start of the seven-day Festival of Inauguration of King Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem. It is appropriate to read King Solomon's prayer (I Kings ch 8).

Tuesday night-Wednesday September 14-15 / 9 Tishri

Eve of Yom Kippur. It is a mitzvah to eat plentifully both on Tuesday night and particularly during the day on Wednesday in preparation for the coming fast. Many endeavor to recite the Erev Yom Kippur Selichot around dawn, following them with Kapparot ("atonements") as found at the beginning of the Yom Kippur Machzor (prayer-book). While the author of the Shulchan Aruch (Rabbi Yosef Karo) was opposed to carrying out Kapparot with chickens (on the grounds that this could degenerate into superstition) and advocated that charity money should be used instead, the author of the glosses (Rabbi Moshe Isserles) defended the use of chickens as an ancient custom. After the ceremony the chickens are slaughtered by a competent shochet and given to the needy.

Since Israel are confident of G-d's forgiveness on the coming Yom Kippur, it is customary to wear festive clothing today. It is customary to eat fish at the morning meal. One should avoid eating cheese and milk dishes, eggs, garlic and sesame (to avoid vain emission of seed). Men customarily immerse in a mikveh, preferably after midday, in preparation for receiving the holiness of Yom Kippur. The afternoon Minchah service includes the full Vidui (confession). Later in the afternoon it is a mitzvah to eat Seudah Hamafseket, the final meal before the fast. This should consist of light foods, and one must cease all eating and drinking shortly before the sunset. The festival candles must be lit before sunset. Prior to leaving the home for the synagogue, parents customarily bless their children with the priestly blessing and any other personal blessings they choose.

Wednesday night-Thursday September 15-16 / 10 Tishri
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement

Information about the laws, customs and prayers of Yom Kippur is available in the Yom Kippur Machzor and on Internet.
Yom Kippur is the anniversary of G-d's complete reconciliation with Israel after forgiving the sin of the golden calf. On this day Moses concluded his third forty-day stay on Mt Sinai and descended carrying the second Tablets of Stone. Yom Kippur is also the anniversary of the martyrdom of Rabbi Akiva at the hands of the Romans.
After breaking the Yom Kippur fast after nightfall on Thursday night, it is customary to begin building the Succah (in order to "go from strength to strength") unless this is impracticable on account of the limited time available prior to the festival of Succot, necessitating an earlier start.

Friday September 17 / 11 Tishri

Today is called Shem HaShem ("the Name of HaShem", see Likutey Moharan II, 66) since His Name is "completed" through our repentance and atonement on Yom Kippur. 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 continue building and preparing the Succah -- which is itself a sanctuary -- as long as this does not interfere with the Shabbat preparations.

During these days between Yom Kippur and Succot it is also necessary to purchase one's Lulav (1 palm branch), Etrog (1 citron), Hadass (3 myrtle branches) and Aravot (3 willow branches) in preparation for the mitzvah of the Four Kinds on the coming festival, though the Aravot should be procured at the last possible moment before the festival since they dry very quickly. (Keeping them wrapped in a damp cloth or aluminum foil in the refrigerator may help delay this.)

Friday night-Saturday September 17-18 / 12 Tishri
Shabbat HA'AZINU

Torah Reading: Deuteronomy 32: 1-52. Haftara: II Samuel 22:1-51.

Monday September 20 / 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 it is customary to give charity generously today. In addition to preparing the Succah for the evening meal, it is advisable to prepare the Etrog, Lulav, Hadass and Aravot before Yom Tov since the latter three must be tied together (symbolizing unity) and tying a knot is forbidden on Yom Tov though a bow is permissible.

Monday night-Tuesday September 20-21 / 15 Tishri
First day of the Festival of Succot

On the first night of Succot it is a Torah mitzvah to eat bread in the Succah (corresponding 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. Information about the laws, customs and prayers of Succot is available in the festival prayer book (Machzor) and on Internet by courtesey of ChaBaD.

On the first morning of the festival many endeavor to make the blessing over the Four Kinds as early as possible, before the morning prayers, preferably in the Succah. The Haftara reading in the synagogue 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.

Tuesday night-Wednesday September 21-22 / 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 is observed as the second day of Yom Tov.

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 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.

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.

Thursday night-Friday September 23-24 / 18 Tishri
Fourth day of Succot

Today is the Yahrzeit of the outstanding Chassidic luminary, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810). His followers customarily gather for a festive meal accompanied by singing and dancing and words of encouragement to practice his teachings.

Friday night-Saturday September 24-25 / 19 Tishri
Shabbat Chol HaMoed

The Arba Minim (Four Kinds: Lulav, Etrog, Hadass and Arava) are not taken on Shabbat. It is customary to read Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) in the synagogue prior to the Torah reading. The special Shabbat Chol HaMoed Torah reading (Exodus 33:12-34:26) and Haftara (Ezekiel 38:18-39:16 on the war of Gog and Magog) are found in the festival prayer book (Machzor).
Today is the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Eliyahu ben Shlomo Zalman, the Gaon of Vilna (1720-97).

Sunday night-Monday September 26-27 / 21 Tishri
Hoshana Rabbah

Many follow the custom of staying awake for all or most 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 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 and for rainfall. 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.

According to an oral tradition received 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.

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.

Monday night-Tuesday September 27-28 / 22 Tishri
Shemini Atzeret, "Eighth day of Solemn Assembly"
Simchat Torah (Israel)

Both Israel and Diaspora communities celebrate today as Shemini Atzeret, with Yizkor prayers for the departed and the Prayer for Rain, but the Diaspora communities celebrate Simchat Torah separately on Tuesday night and Wednesday. 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 the concluding portion of the Torah, Ve-zot 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 Monday night after the evening service and on Tuesday morning before the Torah reading, it is customary 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.

Tuesday night-Wednesday September 28-29 / 23 Tishri
Simchat Torah (Diaspora); Isru Chag (Israel)

Diaspora Torah Reading for Simchas Torah (in Diaspora): Ve-zot 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.

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 Isru Chag with festive dress and meals.

Thursday September 30 / 24 Tishri
Isru Chag (Diaspora)

It is proper for those in the Diaspora to draw the spirit of the Tishri holidays into the days of the year by observing Isru Chag today with festive dress and meals.

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).

Friday night-Saturday October 1-2 / 26 Tishri

Torah Reading: Genesis 1.1-6.8. Haftara: Isaiah 42:5-43:10
Shabbat Mevorachim blessing the coming month of Marcheshvan. Rosh Chodesh will be on Tuesday night, Wednesday and Thursday October 5-7. The Molad (junction of the sun and the moon) will be on Wednesday October 6 at 12:11 and 12 chalakim p.m.

Today is the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev (1740-1809), the great Chassidic luminary and beloved advocate of the Jewish people.

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