From the Desk - Post-Yom Kippur and Sukkot
Shalom Friends, What an incredible Yom Kippur! It was wonderful to be with you, together, in a full synagogue. Over the course of the Yom Tov I experienced a beautiful sense of community as we all came together to pray for a good year. And, of course, it all continues! Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are marked by solemnity and reverence (though, as we noted on Rosh Hashana, there is an element of joy). Now we move toward Sukkot which is Zman Simchateinu - the time of joy. Now we've spent so much time thinking about the serious questions of life, let's complete the process by celebrating together! And, while we're on the topic of celebration, we extend a hearty Mazel tov to Ariel and Sandra Kadoch on the birth of their baby daughter! May the Beth Ora family enjoy many more celebrations in year 5777. Please Note - the Simchat Torah dinner that was scheduled for October 24th, will not take place this year.
Below are some halachot pertaining to Sukkot which I hope you will find interesting and useful: Building the Sukkah The Sukkah must be built under the sky, with nothing intervening between the schach and the sky. One must be careful not to build the Sukkah under a roof or a tree. The Sukkah The walls do not need to touch the ground but they must not be raised more than 24cm above it. The Schach If one uses planks of wood for the schach, one should ensure that they are not wider than 8 cm. This law is in order to ensure that the sukkah is like a temporary dwelling. The laws concerning mattering and wickerwork are complex so one should not use these materials for schach unless they have a hechsher. One should use sufficient schach in order to cover the majority of the area of the roof. It is preferable that the schach is not so dense that even rain could not penetrate. Decorating the Sukkah In honour of the mitzvah and because the Sukkah is to be like your home, it is proper to decorate the Sukkah. Sitting in the Sukkah If you have a Sukkah, Shabbat and Yom Tov lights should be lit in the Sukkah. If there is a concern that they may be extinguished by the wind or if there is a fire risk, they should be lit in the house. In this case, they should be placed near a window that faces the Sukkah if this is possible. The Bracha for the Sukkah There is a special blessing to be recited on eating in the Sukkah – asher kidshanu bemitzvotav vetzivanu leishev basukkah. This bracha is usually recited only when eating an amount of bread exceeding the size of a large egg. One should also say it if he is eating a meal of food containing barley, rye, oats, wheat or spelts. Similarly, if he is having something with these ingredients at a Kiddush, he should say the bracha. The Hadass The Hadass is a twig from the myrtle tree and is one of the four species. In order to keep them fresh during Sukkot, it is advisable to stand them in a small amount of water or keep them in an airtight bag in a cool place. Many keep them in the fridge in a sealed bag with a few drops of water. Taking the Species The lulav, myrtle and willow should first be picked up with the right hand with their tips pointing up and the spine of the lulav facing the person. Then, the etrog should be picked up with the left hand with the upper tip pointing down. A left handed person should take the species in the opposite manner. After the bracha and before the shaking of the species, the etrog should be turned the right way up. The shaking of the species in all directions is the expression of our belief that all existence depends on G-d. Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach! Rabbi Anthony and Carly Knopf Dovid, Rachelli, Yehuda and Avrami