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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Sukkot

Can I Compost My Etrog After Sukkot?

A Guide To What Shouldn’t Be Perplexing: Unpacking One Of Shlomo HaMelech’s More Peculiar Queries

by Dvir Cahana
Posted on October 13, 2022

Though the four species are rich in meaning and carry layered sets of connotative significance, it is curious to read Vayikra Rabbah 30:14—when the midrash tells us that Shlomo HaMelech, in all his brilliance, was baffled by the meaning of the four species.…

western wall

The Mitzvah of Hakhel Today

Every seven years, during the holiday of Sukkot following shemitah, the Torah states that the Jewish people are to hold a ceremony known as hakhel, perhaps best translated as gathering. The ceremony entails a public reading of several sections of the Torah from Devarim, with the goal that those present will “hear and learn to revere your God and observe faithfully every word of this teaching” (Devarim 31:12).…

rainstorm through a window

Sukkot and the Lulav’s Lessons for Today: Sukkot Greetings from Rabbi Dov Linzer

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on October 7, 2022

Sukkot is a holiday about homes–both the permanent and temporary sort–and homelessness. It commemorates how we wandered in the desert with no protection from the elements and no fixed place we could call home, and how God gave us immediate, temporary relief from the former through the Clouds of Glory and ultimate relief from the latter by bringing us into the land of Israel. …

etrogim at market

The Mitzvah of Lulav in Jerusalem Today

All three pilgrimage festivals were centered around the experience of being at the Temple during the holiday. Whereas each person was required to offer a sacrifice for the festival, on Sukkot other unique rituals also took place at the Temple over the seven days of the holiday.…

Sukkah As Tabernacle

by Tadhg Cleary
Posted on October 6, 2022

The Rema—the great Halakhic Codifier of Ashkenazi Jewry—rules that we should build the sukkah on the day after Yom Kippur (starting even right after we break the fast) (Orach Chaim, 624:5-625:1). Some infer that, ideally, we are not supposed to even begin construction of the sukkah at all during the Aseret Yemei Teshuva—the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.…

a school bus stopping on a road with its doors open while a line of small children with backpacks walk in a line to get onto the bus

Glimpsing the House of Tomorrow

by Nava
Posted on September 24, 2021

From the start of Elul through Shemini Atzeret, we recite Psalm 27. There we read, “One thing I ask of the Lord, only that I seek: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord, to frequent God’s Temple” (Psalm 27:4).…

There’s No Place Like Home

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 17, 2021

Sukkot is a yom tov that focuses on the idea of home.  We dwell in a sukkah, which serves as a substitute home. We leave our house our permanent abode and reside for one week in the sukkah, a temporary abode.…

the roofs of various sukkahs against a building in the sun

Who Cares for Those Who Care for Others?

For seven days on Sukkot, we are commanded to leave our homes and make the sukkah our fixed place of residence. All the activities one would normally do in their home–eating, sleeping, relaxing–are to be done in the sukkah. By participating in this holiday, we recreate the Jewish people’s experience of living in the desert after leaving Egypt.…

Sukkah-in-the-dessert from Neot Kedumim Biblical Nature Park

Catching Our (Collective) Breath

In the Time of Coronavirus

Sometimes we need to just stop and catch our breath. Esav moves with his 400 men towards Yaakov and his family, and Yaakov fears for all of their lives. Through a combination of stratagem and diplomacy, Yaakov emerges from the encounter safe and unharmed and is now prepared to continue to Canaan.…

Holy Imperfection

In the Time of Coronavirus

The Rabbis tell us that the mitzvah to dwell in a sukkah means that we are, for this week, to tzei midirat keva ve’sheiv bi’dirat aray –to leave our established, permanent abode and live in a temporary dwelling. In other years, I have understood the message to be that by living in a temporary dwelling we become aware that the normal stability and predictability of our lives – our established abode – is actually an illusion.…

Intention and Identity: Which Trees Produce a Kosher Lulav?

Rabbi Tzvi Pesach Frank (1873-1960) is best known as the chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Jerusalem. He was born and raised in Lithuania, where he studied at Slobodka and Telz, two of Europe’s most prominent yeshivot before the war. After making aliyah in 1892, he became a part of the rabbinic establishment of the old yishuv, while also building a close connection with Rav Kook, becoming part of his circle of intimates along with Rabbi Tzvi Yehudah Kook, Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Charlap, and the Nazir, Rabbi David Cohen.…