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                   HOSHANAH RABAH / SHMINI ATZERET / SIMCHAT TORAH


Friday, Oct. 6th begins the Holiday of Hoshana Rabah. Shmini Atzeret is observed on Friday evening into Shabbat when Yizkor is said, and Simchat Torah begins in the evening and all day Sunday.

Teach me the entire Torah "AL REGEL ACHAT" - standing on one foot - the man requested of Hillel the sage. "That which is unpleasant to you, do not do to your neighbor," answered Hillel "the rest is commentary."

The term "REGEL" is also used in connection with the "Shalosh Regalim" - the three major Jewish Festivals: Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot. Perhaps, we can understand this classic story in another way. "Teach me the Torah or the explanation of this particular 'Regel' called Shemini Atzeret. I understand the theme of freedom and redemption on Pesach. I realize that Shavuot symbolizes the giving of the Torah to B'nai Yisroel and I know that Sukkot is Z'man Simchatenu ... the time of our joy. But what is Shemini Atzeret? A gathering? An extra day? Where are the symbols? No Matzah, no Etrog - what does Shemini Atzeret really mean to us?"

Imagine your children or friends come to visit. They stay with you for the holidays. Soon, however, there comes a time when they must go home. After all, they have their own lives to live and as much as you would like them to stay, they must say good-bye. "Stay with me one more day," you plead. "Let's gather together just once more before you go!"

For the past month, we have been visiting with Hashem in his Holy Synagogue throughout the month of Tishrei, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. Soon, we will have to get back to our regular lives, but Hashem wants us to stay with him a bit longer. "That which is unpleasant to you, don't do to your neighbor." Hashem wants to look at us, and "kvel" just once more before we go back to LA, Florida or Maryland ... just long enough so that He will bless us with His abundant gifts throughout the coming year.

Kol Tov!  Our best to you...it's all good. Have a wonderful Yom Tov and Shabbat Shalom. CM

                                                 

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The first letters of the words Shabbat, Mikvah and Challah (Shin, Mem, Chet) spell the Hebrew word "Sameach" or Happy. Rearranged, they indicate the word "Moshiach." Does today's Jewish woman hold the key to our personal and national destiny?





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