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Hoshana Rabba, the Day of Great Deliverance

October 4, 2004
2001 The Temple Institute, Rabbi Chaim Richman - All Rights Reserved

Today is the last day of the Festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles), known as Hoshana Rabba, the Day of Great Deliverance. This is the day of the final sealing of the judgment that the Holy One, blessed be He, made during the High Holy Days of Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur. We bless each other with the prayer for inscription in the Book of Life, for a sweet year full of blessings. As the entire cycle of the High Holy Days now begins to draw to a close, we reflect upon what has hopefully been an experience of drawing closer to G-d. This is the ultimate blessing which the festival imparts to us, as King David said, "As for me, closeness to G-d is good." (Psalms 73:28) It is this closeness which motivates us to dance with the Torah before G-d on the upcoming Simchat Torah, the Festival of the Rejoicing of the Torah, as we prepare to begin reading the Torah anew.

The Festival of Sukkot is intrinsically bound up with the Land of Israel. Not only is it the festival of the land's harvest; the temporary booths (sukkot) in which we have dwelled over the past week commemorate the booths in which the Holy One, blessed be He, caused Israel to dwell in the desert following the exodus from Egypt, on the way to the Land of Israel.

On a deeper level, when we sit within the sukkah, the booth, we are completely surrounded by the surrounding light of G-d's commandment. Thus it is a Divine precept which we fulfill with our entire self; we are totally encompassed by G-d's word: "You shall dwell in booths for seven days." (Lev. 23:42)

So it is with the Land of Israel: living in the land is a Divine commandment that we fulfill with our entire selves. We are immersed within the Land and its light surrounds us.

Now, when so much of the Land of Israel and its inhabitants are facing grave danger, our prayer is that we shall see the evil decree that has been made against G-d's Land ripped asunder. But G-d requires men not only to pray, but to take responsibility; to act. May we have the courage and fortitude, during this fateful year, to act upon the strength of our convictions. G-d declared that the Land of Israel is holy to Him, and He bequeathed it as an inheritance to the Jewish people. No where in Scripture are the Jewish people told that they must ever apologize for this to anyone. And in turn, may we merit to see the fulfillment of the words from the holiday prayers: "Bestow upon us, O L-rd our G-d, the blessing of Your appointed festivals, for life and for peace, for gladness and for joy, as You desired and promised to bless us."

At the Temple Institute, we have been very busy preparing our new website, and we are happy to announce that it is now on line at www.templeinstitute.org. This new site has many brand new features which we hope you will enjoy. And this is only the beginning! There is also a great deal of new material which will be posted during the coming weeks, and the site will be updated regularly, so please check back frequently. We hope this new website will grant you greater access to the world of the Holy Temple, and to the resources of the Temple Institute. We welcome your comments and feedback.

With blessings from Jerusalem,

Rabbi Chaim Richman
THE TEMPLE INSTITUTE
www.templeinstitute.org

PO Box 31876 Jerusalem, Israel 97500

 

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