Elie's Expositions

A bereaved father blogging for catharsis... and for distraction. Accordingly, you'll see a diverse set of topics and posts here, from the affecting to the analytical to the absurd. Something for everyone, but all, at the core, meeting a personal need.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sukkos: K'riah Curiosities

Much too busy with Sukkos prep today to write much, but I wanted to briefly point out some interesting anomalies regarding the Torah readings for this holiday:

First of all, except for the last day of yom tov, all the Sukkos lainings are "reruns", having been read on previous yom tovim:
- The laining for both of the first two days of Sukkos is the "parshas ha'moados", Lev 22:26-23:44. This was already read on the second day of Pesach.
- The laining for the chol hamoed Sukkos weekdays is simply the list of karbanos [sacrifices] from Parshas Pinchas. Each day we ready the korban for that day and for the next day or two, so each day's karbanos is thus repeated several times throughout the holiday.
- The laining for the Shabbos chol hamoed Sukkos, Exod 33:12-34:26, is also read on Shabbos chol hamoed Pesach. In addition, this entire, seven-aliyah reading has exactly four words that are relevant to Sukkos, namely the last four in 34:21, "V'chag HaAsif Tikufas HaShanah".
- Finally, the laining for Shmini Atzeres, Deut 14:22-16:17, besides being a double rerun in having been read (at least partially) on both the 8th day of Pesach and 2nd day of Shevous, is also unusual in that it actually has no relevance to Shmini Atzeres at all. In fact, it seems to go out of its way to describe Sukkos as just a seven-day holiday, and omits mention of Shmini Atzeres completely!

By contrast, Parshas V'zos Haberacha, the laining on the last day of Yom Tov - the day we now call "Simchas Torah" - is unique in the other direction; it is the only Yom Tov laining which is not read on any other occasion - i.e., as part of the regular Shabbos laining cycle. But what's strangest about this reading is that the practice of reading V'zos Haberacha on this holiday originally had nothing to do with finishing the yearly laining cycle; in fact, it predates that custom by many centuries! See this post for more detail on this most curious development.

Anyway, something to think about during the lengthy holiday services. Have a good Yom Tov - Chag Kasher V'Samayach!!


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