Shemini Atzeret is a Jewish holiday. It is celebrated on the 22nd day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei in the Land of Israel, on the 22nd and 23rd outside the Land coinciding with late September or early October, it directly follows the Jewish festival of Sukkot, celebrated for seven days, thus Shemini Atzeret is the eighth day. It is a separate—yet connected—holy day devoted to the spiritual aspects of the festival of Sukkot. Part of its duality as a holy day is that it is considered to be both connected to Sukkot and a separate festival in its own right. Outside the Land of Israel, this is further complicated by the additional day added to all Biblical holidays except Yom Kippur; the first day of Shemini Atzeret therefore coincides with the eighth day of Sukkot outside the Land of Israel, leading to sometimes involved analysis as to which practices of each holiday are to apply. The celebration of Simchat Torah is the most distinctive feature of the holiday, but it is a rabbinical innovation. In the Land of Israel, the celebrations of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are combined on a single day, the names are used interchangeably.
In the Diaspora, the celebration of Simchat Torah is deferred to the second day of the holiday. Only the first day is referred to as Shemini Atzeret, while the second is called Simchat Torah. Karaite Jews and Samaritans observe Shemini Atzeret, as they do all Biblical holidays. However, it may occur on a different day from the conventional Jewish celebration, due to differences in calendar calculations. Karaites and Samaritans do not include the rabbinical innovation of Simchat Torah in their observance of the day. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, atzeret is the name given to this day in four different locations in the Hebrew Bible, it is not mentioned in Deuteronomy 16, is found only in those parts of the Bible known as the Priestly Code. Like atzarah, atzeret denotes "day of assembly", from atzar = "to hold back" or "keep in". Owing, however, to the fact that both Shemini Atzeret and the seventh day of Pesaḥ are described as atzeret, the name was taken to mean "the closing festival"; when Shemini Atzeret is mentioned in the Torah, it is always mentioned in the context of the seven-day festival of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, which it follows.
For example, Sukkot is described in detail in Leviticus 23:33-43. Shemini Atzeret is mentioned there only in verses 36 and 39; the Hebrew word shemini means eighth. This refers to the date of Shemini Atzeret relative to Sukkot, it is therefore assumed that Shemini Atzeret is the eighth day of Sukkot. That characterization, however, is only accurate; the celebration of Sukkot is characterized by the use of the Four Species. However, the Torah specifies use of those objects for seven days only, not eight; the observance of Shemini Atzeret therefore differs in substantial ways from that of Sukkot. The Talmud describes Shemini Atzeret with the words "a holiday in its own right"; the Talmud describes six ways. Four of these relate principally to the Temple service. Two others remain relevant to modern celebration of the holiday. First, the blessing known as Shehecheyanu is recited on the night of Shemini Atzeret, just as it is on the first night of all other major Jewish holidays. Second, the holiday is referred to distinctively as "Shemini Atzeret" and not as "Sukkot" in the prayer service.
Below that discussion, the Talmud describes Shemini Atzeret as the "end holiday of the festival ". The context here is that the Sukkot obligations of recitation of Hallel last eight days; this is why one of Sukkot's liturgical aliases, "Time of Our Happiness", continues to be used to describe Shemini Atzeret in prayers. Shemini Atzeret is therefore "a holiday in its own right" and the "end holiday of ". Spiritually, Shemini Atzeret can be seen to "guard the seven days of Sukkot"; the Hebrew word atzeret is translated as "assembly", but shares a linguistic root with the word atzor, meaning "stop" or "tarry". Shemini Atzeret is characterized as a day when the Jewish people "tarries" to spend an additional day with God at the end of Sukkot. Rashi cites the parable of a king who invites his sons to dine with him for a number of days, but when the time comes for them to leave, he asks them to stay for another day, since it is difficult for him to part from them. According to this idea, Sukkot is a universal holiday, but Shemini Atzeret is only for the Jewish people.
Moreover, Shemini Atzeret is a modest holiday, just to celebrate special relationship with His beloved nation. A different, but related, interpretation is offered by Yaakov Zevi Mecklenburg, who translates atzeret as "retain": "During the holiday season, we have experienced a heightened religious fervor and a most devout spirit; this last day is devoted to a recapitulation of the message of these days, with the hope that it will be retained the rest of the year". The day prior to Shemini Atzeret is the last day of Sukkot. Called Hoshana Rabbah, it is different from the other days of Sukkot. While it is part of the intermediate Sukkot days known as Chol HaMoed, Hoshana Rabbah has extra prayers and rituals and is treated and practiced much more ser
Simchat Torah or Simhat Torah is a Jewish holiday that celebrates and marks the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings, the beginning of a new cycle. Simchat Torah is a component of the Biblical Jewish holiday of Shemini Atzeret, which follows after the festival of Sukkot in the month of Tishrei; the main celebrations of Simchat Torah take place in the synagogue during evening and morning services. In Orthodox as well as many Conservative congregations, this is the only time of year on which the Torah scrolls are taken out of the ark and read at night. In the morning, the last parashah of Deuteronomy and the first parashah of Genesis are read in the synagogue. On each occasion, when the ark is opened, the worshippers leave their seats to dance and sing with the Torah scrolls in a joyous celebration that can last for several hours; the morning service is uniquely characterized by the calling up of each member of the congregation for an aliyah. There is a special aliyah for all the children.
On the Hebrew calendar, the seven-day holiday of Sukkot in the autumn is followed by the holiday of Shemini Atzeret. In Orthodox and Conservative communities outside Israel, Shemini Atzeret is a two-day holiday and the Simchat Torah festivities are observed on the second day; the first day is referred to as "Shemini Atzeret" and the second day as "Simchat Torah", although both days are Shemini Atzeret according to Halakha, this is reflected in the liturgy. Many Hasidic communities have Hakafot on the eve of the first day of Shemini Atzeret as well. In Israel, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are celebrated on the same day. Reform congregations outside Israel, may do likewise. Many communities in Israel have Hakafot Shniyot on the evening following the holiday, the same day as Simchat Torah evening in the diaspora; the custom was started by the former Chief Rabbi of Rabbi Yedidya Frankel. The Simhat Torah festivities begin with the evening service. All the synagogue's Torah scrolls are removed from the ark and are carried around the sanctuary in a series of seven hakafot.
Although each hakafa need only encompass one circuit around the synagogue, the dancing and singing with the Torah continues much longer, may overflow from the synagogue onto the streets. In Orthodox and Conservative Jewish synagogues, each circuit is announced by a few melodious invocations imploring God to Hoshiah Na and ending with the refrain, Aneinu B'yom Koreinu. In Orthodox and Conservative synagogues, the hakafot are accompanied by traditional chants, including biblical and liturgical verses and songs about the Torah, the goodness of God, Messianic yearnings, prayers for the restoration of the House of David and the Temple in Jerusalem. Congregations may sing other, popular songs during the dancing. Children are given flags and other treats; the vigour of the dancing and degree of festive merriment varies with congregational temperament. In Orthodox synagogues, the dancing is carried out by men and boys. Women and older girls have their own dancing circles sometimes with the Torah scrolls, or look on from the other side of a mechitza, in accordance with the value of tzniut.
In Conservative and progressive congregations and women dance together. In some congregations, the Torah scrolls are carried out into the streets and the dancing may continue far into the evening. After the hakafot, many congregations recite a portion of the last parashah of the Torah, V'Zot HaBerachah in Deuteronomy; the part read is 33:1–34:12, but may vary by synagogue custom, although Deuteronomy is never read to the end in the evening. The morning service, like that of other Jewish holidays, includes a special holiday Amidah, the saying of Hallel, a holiday Mussaf service; when the ark is opened to take out the Torah for the Torah reading, all the scrolls are again removed from the ark and the congregation again starts the seven hakafot just like in the evening. In many congregations, one deviation from an otherwise ordinary holiday morning service is the performance of the Priestly Blessing as part of the Shacharit service, before the celebrations connected with the Torah reading begin, rather than as part of the Musaf service that follows.
This practice hearkens back to an old custom for the kiddush sponsored by the Hatan Torah to be held during the Simhat Torah service itself where hard liquor may be served. Since the Bible prohibits Kohanim from performing the priestly blessing while intoxicated, there is concern that Kohanim may imbibe alcoholic beverages during the Simhat Torah festivities, the blessing was moved to before the time when alcohol would be served. In some congregations, the Kohanim deliver their blessing as usual during the Musaf service of Simhat Torah. After the hakafot and the dancing, three scrolls of the Torah are read; the last parashah of the Torah, V'Zot HaBerachah, at the end of Deuteronomy, is read from the first scroll, followed by the first chapter of the Book of Genesis, read from the second scroll. It is a Jewish custom that a new beginning must follow a c
Yemenite Jews or Yemeni Jews or Teimanim are those Jews who live, or once lived, in Yemen. The term may refer to the descendants of the Yemenite Jewish community. Between June 1949 and September 1950, the overwhelming majority of Yemen's Jewish population was transported to Israel in Operation Magic Carpet. After several waves of persecution throughout Yemen, most Yemenite Jews now live in Israel, while smaller communities live in the United States and elsewhere. Only a handful remain in Yemen; the few remaining Jews experience intense, at times violent, anti-Semitism on a daily basis. Yemenite Jews have a unique religious tradition that marks them out as separate from Ashkenazi and other Jewish groups, they have been described as "the most Jewish of all Jews" and the same with Yemeni Arabs who are described as pure Arabs. Yemenite Jews are described as belonging to "Mizrahi Jews", though they differ from the general trend of Mizrahi groups in Israel, which have undergone a process of total or partial assimilation to Sephardic culture and Sephardic liturgy.
While the Shami sub-group of Yemenite Jews did adopt a Sephardic-influenced rite, this was in no small part due to it being forced upon them, did not reflect a demographic or cultural shift. Some Jewish families have preserved traditions relating to their tribal affiliation, based on partial genealogical records passed down generation after generation. In Yemen, for example, some Jews trace their lineage to Judah, others to Benjamin, while yet others to Levi and Reuben. Of particular interest is one distinguished Jewish family of Yemen who traced their lineage to Bani, one of the sons of Peretz, the son of Judah. There are numerous accounts and traditions concerning the arrival of Jews in various regions in Southern Arabia. One tradition suggests that King Solomon sent Jewish merchant marines to Yemen to prospect for gold and silver with which to adorn his Temple in Jerusalem. In 1881, the French vice consulate in Yemen wrote to the leaders of the Alliance in France, that he read in a book by the Arab historian Abu-Alfada that the Jews of Yemen settled in the area in 1451 BCE.
Another legend says that Yemeni tribes converted to Judaism after the Queen of Sheba's visit to King Solomon. The Sanaite Jews have a tradition that their ancestors settled in Yemen forty-two years before the destruction of the First Temple, it is said that under the prophet Jeremiah some 75,000 Jews, including priests and Levites, traveled to Yemen. Another legend states that when Ezra commanded the Jews to return to Jerusalem they disobeyed, whereupon he pronounced a ban upon them. According to this legend, as a punishment for this hasty action, Ezra was denied burial in Israel; as a result of this local tradition, which can not be validated it is said that no Jew of Yemen gives the name of Ezra to a child, although all other Biblical appellatives are used. The Yemenite Jews claim; this seems to have come true in the eyes of some Yemenites, as Yemen is poor. However, some Yemenite sages in Israel today emphatically reject this story as myth, if not outright blasphemy. Archaeological records referring to Judaism in Yemen started to appear during the rule of the Himyarite Kingdom, established in Yemen in 110 BCE.
Various inscription in Musnad script in the second century CE refer to constructions of synagogues approved by Himyarite Kings. According to local legends, the kingdom's aristocracy converted to Judaism in the 6th century CE; the Christian missionary, who came to Yemen in the mid-fourth century, complained that he had found great numbers of Jews. By 380 CE, Himyarites religious practices had undergone fundamental changes; the inscriptions were no longer addressed to El Maqah or'Athtar, but to a single deity called Rahman. Debate among scholars continues as to whether the Himyarite monotheism was influenced by Judaism or Christianity. Jews became numerous and powerful in the southern part of Arabia, a rich and fertile land of incense and spices and a way station on the routes to Africa and East Asia; the Yemeni tribes did not oppose Jewish presence in their country. By 516, tribal unrest broke out, several tribal elites fought for power. One of those elites was Joseph Dhu Nuwas or "Yûsuf'As'ar Yaṯ'ar" as mentioned in ancient south Arabian inscriptions.
The actual story of Joseph is murky. Greek and Ethiopian accounts, portray him as a Jewish zealot; some scholars suggest. Nestorian accounts claim that his mother was a Jew taken captive from Nisibis and bought by a king in Yemen, whose ancestors had converted to Judaism. Syriac and Byzantine sources maintain that Yûsuf ’As’ar sought to convert other Yemeni Christians, but they refused to renounce Christianity; the actual picture, remains unclear. Some scholars believe. In 2009 a BBC broadcast defended a claim that Yûsuf ’As’ar offered villagers the choice between conversion to Judaism or death and massacred 20,000 Christians; the program's producers stated that, "The production team spoke to many historians over 18 months, among them Nigel Groom, our consultant, Professor Abdul Rahman Al-Ansary." Inscriptions attributed to Yûsuf ’As’ar himself show the great pride he expressed after killing more than 22,000 Christians in Ẓafār and Najran. According to Jamme, Sabaean inscriptions reveal that the combined war booty from campaigns waged against the Abyssinians in Ẓafār, the fighters in ’Ašʻarān, Rakbān, Farasān, Muḥwān (Moch
The Book of Psalms referred to as Psalms or "the Psalms", is the first book of the Ketuvim, the third section of the Hebrew Bible, thus a book of the Christian Old Testament. The title is derived from the Greek translation, ψαλμοί, meaning "instrumental music" and, by extension, "the words accompanying the music"; the book is an anthology of individual psalms, with 150 in the Jewish and Western Christian tradition and more in the Eastern Christian churches. Many are linked to the name of David; the Book of Psalms is divided into five sections, each closing with a doxology —these divisions were introduced by the final editors to imitate the five-fold division of the Torah: Book 1 Book 2 Book 3 Book 4 Book 5 Many psalms have individual superscriptions, ranging from lengthy comments to a single word. Over a third appear to be musical directions, addressed to the "leader" or "choirmaster", including such statements as "with stringed instruments" and "according to lilies". Others appear to be references to types of musical composition, such as "A psalm" and "Song", or directions regarding the occasion for using the psalm.
Many carry the names of individuals, the most common being of David, thirteen of these relate explicitly to incidents in the king's life. Others named include Asaph, the sons of Korah, Moses, Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman the Ezrahite; the LXX, the Peshitta, the Latin Vulgate each associate several Psalms with Haggai and Zechariah. The LXX attributes several Psalms to Ezekiel and to Jeremiah. Psalms are identified by a sequence number preceded by the abbreviation "Ps." Numbering of the Psalms differs -- by one, see table -- between Greek manuscripts. Protestant translations use the Hebrew numbering, but other Christian traditions vary: Catholic official liturgical texts follow the Hebrew numbering since 1969; the variance between Massorah and Septuagint texts in this numeration is enough due to a gradual neglect of the original poetic form of the Psalms. It is admitted that Pss. 9 and 10 were a single acrostic poem. Pss. 42 and 43 are shown by identity of subject, of metrical structure and of refrain, to be three strophes of one and the same poem.
The Hebrew text is correct in counting as one Ps. 146 and Ps. 147. Liturgical usage would seem to have split up these and several other psalms. Zenner combines into. 1, 2, 3, 4. A choral ode would seem to have been the original form of Pss. 14 and 70. The two strophes and the epode are Ps. 14. It is noteworthy that, on the breaking up of the original ode, each portion crept twice into the Psalter: Ps. 14 = 53, Ps. 70 = 40:14–18. Other such duplicated portions of psalms are Ps. 108:2–6 = Ps. 57:8–12. This loss of the original form of some of the psalms is allowed by the Biblical Commission to have been due to liturgical practices, neglect by copyists, or other causes; the Septuagint, present in Eastern Orthodox churches, includes a Psalm 151. Some versions of the Peshitta include Psalms 152–155. There are the Psalms of Solomon, which are a further 18 psalms of Jewish origin originally written in Hebrew, but surviving only in Greek and Syriac translation; these and other indications suggest that the current Western Christian and Jewish collection of 150 psalms were selected from a wider set.
Hermann Gunkel's pioneering form-critical work on the psalms sought to provide a new and meaningful context in which to interpret individual psalms—not by looking at their literary context within the Psalter, but by bringing together psalms of the same genre from throughout the Psalter. Gunkel divided the psalms into five primary types: Hymns, songs of praise for God's work in creation or history, they open with a call to praise, describe the motivation for praise, conclude with a repetition of the call. Two sub-categories are "enthronement psalms", celebrating the enthronement of Yahweh as king, Zion psalms, glorifying Mount Zion, God's dwelling-place in Jerusalem. Gunkel described a special subset of "eschatological hymns" which includes themes of future restoration or of judgment. Communal laments. Both communal and individual laments but not always include the following elements: address to God, description of suffering, cursing of the party responsib
Song of Songs
The Song of Songs Song of Solomon or Canticles, is one of the megillot found in the last section of the Tanakh, known as the Ketuvim, a book of the Old Testament. The Song of Songs is unique within the Hebrew Bible: it shows no interest in Law or Covenant or the God of Israel, nor does it teach or explore wisdom like Proverbs or Ecclesiastes; the two are in harmony, each rejoicing in sexual intimacy. In modern Judaism the Song is read on the Sabbath during the Passover, which marks the beginning of the grain harvest as well as commemorating the Exodus from Egypt. Jewish tradition reads it as an allegory of the relationship between God and Israel, Christianity as an allegory of Christ and his "bride", the Church. There is widespread consensus that, although the book has no plot, it does have what can be called a framework, as indicated by the links between its beginning and end. Beyond this, there appears to be little agreement: attempts to find a chiastic structure have not been compelling, attempts to analyse it into units have used differing methods and arrived at differing results.
The following schema, from Kugler & al. must therefore be taken as indicative, rather than determinative: Introduction Dialogue between the lovers The woman recalls a visit from her lover The woman addresses the daughters of Zion Sighting a royal wedding procession The man describes his lover's beauty The woman addresses the daughters of Jerusalem The man describes his lover, who visits him Observers describe the woman's beauty Appendix The introduction calls the poem "the song of songs", a construction used in Scriptural Hebrew to show something as the greatest and most beautiful of its class. The poem proper begins with the woman's expression of desire for her lover and her self-description to the "daughters of Jerusalem": she insists on her sun-born blackness, likening it to the "tents of Kedar" and the "curtains of Solomon". A dialogue between the lovers follows: the woman asks the man to meet; the two compete in offering flattering compliments. The section closes with the woman telling the daughters of Jerusalem not to stir up love such as hers until it is ready.
The woman recalls a visit from her lover in the springtime. She uses imagery from a shepherd's life, she says of her lover that "he pastures his flock among the lilies"; the woman again addresses the daughters of Jerusalem, describing her fervent and successful search for her lover through the night-time streets of the city. When she finds him she takes him by force into the chamber in which her mother conceived her, she reveals that this is a dream, seen on her "bed at night" and ends by again warning the daughters of Jerusalem "not to stir up love until it is ready". The next section reports a royal wedding procession. Solomon is mentioned by name, the daughters of Jerusalem are invited to come out and see the spectacle; the man describes his beloved: Her hair is like a flock of goats, her teeth like shorn ewes, so on from face to breasts. Place-names feature heavily: her neck is like the Tower of David, her smell like the scent of Lebanon, he hastens to summon his beloved, saying that he is ravished by a single glance.
The section becomes a "garden poem", in which he describes her as a "locked garden". The woman invites the man to taste the fruits; the man accepts the invitation, a third party tells them to eat, drink, "and be drunk with love". The woman tells the daughters of Jerusalem of another dream, she was in her chamber. She was slow to open, when she did, he was gone, she searched through the streets again, but this time she failed to find him and the watchmen, who had helped her before, now beat her. She asks the daughters of Jerusalem to help her find him, describes his physical good looks, she admits her lover is in his garden, safe from harm, committed to her as she is to him. The man describes his beloved; the people praise the beauty of the woman. The images are the same as those used elsewhere in the poem, but with an unusually dense use of place-names, e.g. pools of Hebron, gate of Bath-rabbim, tower of Damascus, etc. The man states his intention to enjoy the fruits of the woman's garden; the woman invites him to a tryst in the fields.
She once more warns the daughters of Jerusalem against waking love. The woman compares love to death and sheol: love is as relentless and jealous as these two, cannot be quenched by any force, she summons her lover, using the language used before: he should come "like a gazelle or a young stag upon the mountain of spices". The Song offers no clue to the date, place, or circumstances of its composition; the superscription st
A gabbai known as shamash שמש or parnas or warden is a beadle or sexton, a person who assists in the running of synagogue services in some way. The role may be undertaken on a voluntary or paid basis. A shamash or gabbai can mean an assistant to a rabbi; the word gabbai is Aramaic and, in Talmudic times, meant collector of taxes or charity, or treasurer. The term shamash is sometimes used for the gabbai, the caretaker or "man of all work" in a synagogue. While the specific set of duties vary from synagogue to synagogue, a gabbai's responsibilities will include ensuring that the religious services run smoothly; the gabbai may be responsible for calling congregants up to the Torah. In some synagogues, the gabbai stands next to the Torah reader, holding a version of the text with vowels and trop markings, following along in order to correct the reader if the reader makes an error. In other synagogues, these responsibilities are instead that of a sgan. A gabbai might manage some of the financial affairs of the institution, such as collection of contributions and keeping financial records.
The administrator of charitable funds might be called the gabbai tzedakah. A gabbai's responsibilities might include maintaining a Jewish cemetery. In some parts of the world, the gabbaim wears special clothing. In Anglo-Jewry, for example, gabbaim in some synagogue movements have traditionally worn top hats and where there is a shamash, he may wear canonicals. An example from literature is a character in Night by Elie Wiesel. Yad LaTorah: Laws and Customs of the Torah Service - A Guide for Gabba'im and Torah Readers by Kenneth Goldrich, published by the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and the Rabbinical Assembly
Shacharit, or Shacharis in Ashkenazi Hebrew, is the morning Tefillah of the Jewish people, one of the three daily prayers. Different traditions identify different primary components of Shacharit. All agree that Pesukei dezimra, the Shema and its blessings, the Amidah are major sections; some identify the preliminary readings, as a first, distinct section. Others say. On certain days, there are additional prayers and services added to Shacharit, including Mussaf and a Torah reading. Shacharit according to tradition was identified as a time of prayer by Abraham, as Genesis 19:27 states, "Abraham arose early in the morning," which traditionally is the first Shacharit. However, Abraham's prayer did not become a standardized prayer; the sages of the Great Assembly may have formulated blessings and prayers that became part of Shacharit. However, the siddur, or prayerbook as we know it, was not formed until around the 7th century CE The prayers said still vary among congregations and Jewish communities.
Shacharit was instituted in part as a replacement of the daily morning Temple service after the destruction of the Temple. Shacharit comes from the Hebrew root שחר. In Eastern Yiddish, praying is identified by the verb daven, which comes from the same Latin root as the English word divine. Davening Shacharit is the Yinglish term for doing the service. During or before Shacharit, Jews tallit, according to their tradition. Both actions are accompanied by blessings; some do not eat. Traditionally, a series of introductory prayers are said as the start of Shacharit; the main pieces of these prayers are Pesukei dezimra, consisting of numerous psalms and prayers. Pesukei dezimra is said so that an individual will have praised God before making requests, which might be considered rude; the Shema and its related blessings are said. One should "concentrate on fulfilling the positive commandment of reciting the Shema" before reciting it. One should be sure to say it and not to slur words together. Shemoneh Esrei, a series of 19 blessings is recited.
On Shabbat and Yom Tov, only 7 blessings are said. The blessings cover a variety of issues and ethics such as Jerusalem and prayer. Tachanun, a supplication consisting of a collection of passages from the Hebrew bible is said. On Mondays and Thursdays, a longer version is recited. On other days, the extra parts are omitted; the main part of Tachanun is traditionally said with one's head resting on her arm. On certain days, there is a Torah reading at this point in the service. On most days, three aliyot are given as honors. Seven are given on Shabbat; the service concludes with Adon Olam, Psalm of the Day, Prayer for Peace. According to Jewish law, the earliest time to recite the morning service is when there is enough natural light "one can see a familiar acquaintance six feet away." It is a subjective standard. After sunrise and before mid-day is the usual time for this prayer service; the latest time one may recite. After that, the afternoon service can be recited.