Shemini Atzeret

Shmini Atzeret: Election Day

Tomorrow is Shmini Atzeret. It is also Election Day in Canada. While that is no doubt unfortunate for (observant) Jews, these days, Election Day is a bit of a misnomer. People have been able to vote for weeks, and some 4.7 million voters, or 1/6 of all eligible voters, have already voted. And when one considers that in the past nine elections turnout has been under 70%, some 25% of all votes have likely already been cast. 

Hoshana Rabbah: Water Falls

"On the Yom Tov of the last day, we read 'Kol Habechor, every first born'" (Devarim 15:19, Megillah 31a). Finding an appropriate Torah reading for Shmini Azeret is no easy task. The holiday is mentioned only twice in Chumash: once as a passing reference in Parshat Emor, where the Torah instructs us to keep Sukkot for seven days and "the eighth day shall be a holy convocation" (Vayikra 23:36), and once in Parshat Pinchas, where the sacrifices of the day are mentioned (and which serves as the Maftir reading).

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