The prophet Amos declared (3:8),“Shall a lion roar and who would not fear?” My Talmud teacher, Dr. Elieser Slomovic, said that in the mountains of Eastern Europe where he grew up they did not have lions. But, pious Jews lived with fear of God and read the word lion in Hebrew- ERYeH- as an acronym for the milestones of this penitential season: Elul (the month of preparation for forgiveness); Rosh Hashanah (Judgment day); Yom Kippur (the time of sentencing); and Hoshanah Rabbah (the final reprieve).
Hoshanah Rabbah falls on the last day of Sukkot. In the time of Temple, the day included a water offering ritual (simchat beit ha’shoevah), which the rabbis of the Talmud called an event of supreme joy. For at the end of this cycle, we have reason to rejoice with the faith that we begin anew, hope restored, the future looking promising. May the holidays enable you such positive emotions.
Please consider joining our celebration of Hoshanah Rabbah at CBI on Sunday morning (9:10) when we mark the conclusion of Sukkot with the hoshannot- circling with lulav and etrog, culminating in the beating of the willows- indeed memorable and happy making events.