Sunday 16 October 2022

Shemini Atzeret & Simchat Torah Tzetl 5783

7:20pm - Sunday, light candles 
8:19pm - Monday, light candles after
8:20pm - Tuesday, YomTov concludes
(Melbourne Australia)
Eruv Status: See
Shabbat Shalom! 

Yeshivah Shule Tzetel: 
Weekly Publications:

Deuteronomy 14:22-16:17; Numbers 29:35
A tenth of all produce is to be eaten in Jerusalem, or else exchanged for money with which food is purchased and eaten there. On certain years this tithe is given to the poor instead. Firstborn cattle and sheep are to be offered in the Temple and their meat eaten by the Kohen (priest).

The mitzvah of charity obligates a Jew to aid a needy fellow with a gift or loan. On the Sabbatical year (occurring every seventh year) all loans are to be forgiven. All indentured servants are to be set free after six years of service.

The portion then mentions the laws of the three pilgrimage festivals — Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot — when all should go to "see and be seen" before G‑d in the Holy Temple.

G‑d declares that the eighth day will be the festival of Shemini Atzeret, one bullock is offered, together with a ram and seven lambs. With each of the animals is brought the prescribed meal, wine and oil supplements: three tenths of an efah of fine flour, and half a hin each of wine and oil, per bullock; two tenths of an efah of flour and a third of a hin of each of the liquids for each ram; and one tenth and one quarter respectively for each lamb.

The Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret Torah readings are from Leviticus 22-23, Numbers 29, and Deuteronomy 14-16. These readings detail the laws of the moadim or "appointed times" on the Jewish calendar for festive celebration of our bond with G‑d; including the mitzvot of dwelling in the sukkah (branch-covered hut) and taking the "Four Kinds" on the festival of Sukkot; the offerings brought in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem on Sukkot, and the obligation to journey to the Holy Temple to "to see and be seen before the face of G‑d" on the three annual pilgrimage festivals — Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot.

On Simchat Torah ("Rejoicing of the Torah") we conclude, and begin anew, the annual Torah-reading cycle. First we read the Torah section of V'zot HaBerachah, which recounts the blessings that Moses gave to each of the twelve tribes of Israel before his death. Echoing Jacob's blessings to his twelve sons five generations earlier, Moses assigns and empowers each tribe with its individual role within the community of Israel.

V'zot HaBerachah then relates how Moses ascended Mount Nebo from whose summit he saw the Promised Land. "And Moses the servant of G‑d died there in the Land of Moab by the mouth of G‑d... and no man knows his burial place to this day." The Torah concludes by attesting that "There arose not a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom G‑d knew face to face... and in all the mighty hand and the great awesome things which Moses did before the eyes of all Israel."

Immediately after concluding the Torah, we begin it anew by reading the first chapter of Genesis (the beginning of next Shabbat's Torah reading) describing G‑d's creation of the world in six days and His ceasing work on the seventh—which He sanctified and blessed as a day of rest.

I Kings 8:54-66.
The setting for the haftorah for the holiday of Shemini Atzeret is the dedication of the first Holy Temple by King Solomon. The dedication was a seven-day festive affair, which was immediately followed by the seven festive days of the holiday of Sukkot. And then, as we read in this haftorah, on the "eighth day" (i.e., Shemini Atzeret), Solomon sent the people off to their homes.

The reading opens immediately after King Solomon concludes a lengthy public prayer to G‑d. He then blesses the assembled Jewish people and encourages them to follow G‑d's will and observe the commandments—it is this blessing that occupies the bulk of the reading.

The King then inaugurates the Holy Temple by bringing various offerings: peace offerings, burnt offerings, and meal and fat offerings. And then, "on the eighth day he dismissed the people, and they blessed the King and went to their homes, rejoicing and delighted of heart for all the goodness that G‑d had wrought for David His servant and for Israel His people."

Joshua 1:1-18.
This week's Haftorah describes Joshua's succession of his master Moses, whose passing is discussed in the Torah reading.

G‑d reveals Himself to Joshua, and appoints him as Moses' successor. G‑d encouraged Joshua to lead the Israelites in to the Holy Land. "Every place on which the soles of your feet will tread I have given to you, as I have spoken to Moses. From this desert and Lebanon to the great river, the Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the great sea westward shall be your boundary." G‑d assures Joshua that He will be with him just as He was with Moses and encourages him to be strong and brave, to study the Torah constantly and keep it close, so that he may succeed in all his endeavours.

Joshua orders his officers to prepare the Jewish people to cross the Jordan River. He then tells the members of the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh, who had chosen to settle on the eastern bank of the Jordan, to go and assist their brethren in the conquest of the Canaanite mainland, after which they would return to their plot of land. The Jewish people pledge their allegiance to Joshua: "Just as we obeyed Moses in everything, so shall we obey you. Only that the L-rd your G‑d be with you as He was with Moses."

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