Last night was the 7th day of Sukot- but it has a special name- Hoshana Raba. Kind of like a mini-Yom Kipur. During services, we destroy the willow branches that are part of the Lulav and Etrog (see the picture below) we’ve employed during this seven day festival. We either do this because it was part of the rain-bringing rituals that existed centuries ago- or to remind us of repentance. (The origin of the practice is simply not clear to us today.)
My mom’s dead. And, I’m single. So, there’s no celebration of Mother’s Day this weekend. (Pay attention kids- your mom’s alive. Don’t forget her.) And, I was somewhat confused last week, when the Phillies celebrated Mother’s Day. (That’s because there will be no Sunday home game this weekend. )
Earth Day. April 22. I remember the first one, way back in 1970, when I was working for an environmental regulatory authority (my one stint working for the government). Now the celebration is held around the world (some 193 countries and growing).
Tonight is the first night of Chanuka. That means it is the 25th of Kislev. (It is also the day our family traditionally celebrated my grandfather’s birthday- who only knew his birthday was on Chanuka.) The holiday of Chanuka is NOT the same as Christmas, even though the Christians adopted the 25th for their celebration.
Today we recognize the abundance afforded us. Of course, many of us have still not recovered from the Great Recession (yeah, like the whole Middle Class). But, being the optimistic people we are, we are still bound and determined to celebrate Thanksgiving. Many of us are also bound and determined to wait on line for interminable duration just to score that one sale item.
Tonight is the start of a most unusual holiday. This is the last one that requires me not to work until April. (Good. Now, I can make some money!) The Tora gives us very little clue about this holiday and its requirements. It’s simply called the Eighth Day of Assembly (Shmini Atzeret).