Posts Tagged ‘Holidays’

Tishrei 27: Four Days Left in the Journey

October 4, 2010

Finished-off sukkah after post-holiday storm.

The setting of this evening’s sun ushered in the 27th day of Tishrei, which means there are four days left of our 60-day spiritual journey through the months of Elul and Tishrei, including the Jewish High Holidays.  Perhaps your sukkah was vulnerable enough to be destroyed by a post-holiday storm.  The mahzorim (High-Holiday prayer books) have been packed away, the Torah rewound back to the beginning.  Winter’s coming, it’s time to get back to work.

But don’t let go of your spiritual travels of the past two months!  It’s not too late to reflect on the Eternal Moments you may have experienced, even record them in writing.  The task before us now is to draw in all that Divine energy we felt during the holidays, let it fill us, and turn our inspiration into action.  There are blessings to be said, people to be loved, Hebrew to be learned, a broken world in need of our help.

Judaism teaches us not to abandon the material world or separate ourselves from it, but rather to transform every “mundane” thing into a holy one.

More Jewish Holidays!

September 29, 2010

Three more holidays in our Jewish New Year Holiday Season:

Tishrei 21, which ended at sundown tonight, was Hoshana Rabba (“the Great Hoshana”), which was the final day for waving the lulav and etrog.

Tishrei 22 began at sundown tonight, initiating the holiday of Sh’mini ‘Atzeret (“the Stopping of the Eighth,” i.e., the eighth day, and truly the end of, Sukkot), a less-famous Jewish festival.  Among other observances, we say goodbye to the sukkah until next year.

Tishrei 23 is when we celebrate Simhat Torah, which means, literally, “the joy of the Torah.”  We read from the very end, then rewind the scroll all the way back to the beginning and read from there.

It is truly a holiday cycle.

Hebrew grammar:

Simhat is the s’mikhut (construct) form of simhah. The noun modifies the next noun.

Simhah = joy

Simhat = joy of…

Hebrew Comes Alive in Concord, MA

September 28, 2010

You’re familiar with Barukh atah… but what happens after v’tzivanu? Join master Hebrew teacher Natasha Shabat in exploring a variety of familiar and not-so-familiar Hebrew blessings as a jumping-off point for expanding your knowledge and understanding of Hebrew.  We’ll study blessings for Shabbat and holidays, for different types of food, for greeting the morning, greeting an old friend, and more!  The level of Hebrew instruction will depend on the level of interested students.

Sheheheyanu, v’kiy’manu, v’higi’anu…

When: Eight Monday evenings,  7:00-8:30 PM
October 18, 25
November 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
December 6

Where: Kerem Shalom
659 Elm St.
Concord, MA  01742

Tuition:
Members of Kerem Shalom: $10/class
Non-members: $15/class
If class size is very small, tuition will be higher.

Information: Natasha Shabat –  learnhebrew@natashashabat.com

Registration: Rosalie Gerut –  rosaliege@comcast.net

Kerem Shalom: www.keremshalom.org

Jewish Holiday Greetings: Sukkot

September 27, 2010
sukkot harvest

lulav, etrog, Hallah, freshly harvested vegetables, Ecclesiastes

It is still perfectly appropriate to wish each other a Happy New Year (or Shana Tovah in Hebrew), just as people continue saying Happy (Gregorian) New Year for many weeks into January and beyond.

But maybe you’re looking for a Jewish holiday greeting more specific to the actual current Jewish holiday and wondering, What is the proper Hebrew greeting during these intermediary days of Sukkot? (September 26-29 this year) and what is the proper response?

Answer: Both come from the Festival Kiddush, as follows:

Person who initiates the greeting says: Mo’adim l’simhah!
Person who replies: Hagim u’z’manim l’sasson!

Hint about pronunciation: Each of the Hebrew words above puts the emphasis/stress on the last syllable.

Try it!

Hebrew Vocabulary:

Mo’adim = moments, “festivals,” “appointed times”
(singular: mo’eid)

l’ = for/to

simhah = joy, gladness, happy occasion

Hagim = holidays, celebrations
(singular: hag)

u’ = and

z’manim = seasons, times
(singular: z’man)

sasson = joy, happiness

Tishrei 16: New Tradition: Post-Sukkah-Dwelling Tick Check

September 24, 2010

sukkah electrification projectMy faithful ol’ “giant-shower-stall” sukkah looks so much smaller and more vulnerable now that it stands on a huge lawn near the woods rather than in an Arlington postage-stamp back yard that was barely any bigger than the sukkah.   Two days into the holiday, I’ve observed a few pros and cons:

Pros:

1. The vulnerability of the little sukkah on the big lawn is so sweet, totally in tune with the holiday themes.

2. It’s so quiet here at night.  Aside from the din of the crickets.  The night air fairly throbs with them.

3. No more light pollution!

4. The nearest neighbors are far enough away from the sukkah that they won’t be disturbed if I drown out the crickets while practicing Ahat Sha’alti on the harmonica.

Cons:

1. There are a lot more mosquitoes out here amongst the protected wetlands, especially on warm nights.  Note to self: Buy more citronella candles.

2. The commute from the sukkah back to the house is a lot longer.  I and my guests can’t just dash back inside for forgotten items or the bathroom.  I even drove my car up and down the long driveway with trunkfuls of sukkah gear several times, just because it was easier and faster.   Now I’m likely to say, “Too bad we forgot that, let’s manage without.”   This is way more like camping.  It occurs to me that now we’re more closely approximating the ancient agrarian experience of our ancestors, who stayed overnight in the fields during the fall harvest!  Hm, maybe this should be a pro rather than a con?

3. It’s DARK at night.  That is, until the candles are lit.  (And the electric sukkah lights are fired up, thanks to some really, really long extension cords.)  This means the commute between the sukkah and the house is more treacherous at night.   So let’s just stay in the sukkah, which has suddenly become even cozier.  See Pro #3 above.

4. There are more animals of all types here, including deer ticks.  Looks like post-sukkah-dwelling tick checks will be de rigeur from now on.  We aren’t in Arlington anymore!