Tag: The Observant Life

Special Shabbats leading up to Purim and Passover

Special Shabbatot Approaching Purim and Passover

A series of special Shabbatot with special Torah readings precede Purim and Passover.

Megillah scroll celebrating Purim in Synagogue

Celebrating Purim in Synagogue

Tradition dictates that Purim be observed on the fourteenth day of Adar, and begins with the recitation of the regular evening service.

Festivities and food on Purim

Festivities, Food, and Mitzvot on Purim

Purim is celebrated with days of feasting and merrymaking, and occasion for sending gifts to one another and gifts for the poor.

What is Purim and When is it Celebrated?

What is Purim and When is it Celebrated?

Purim is about the struggle of identity against assimilation, the value of tolerance, and to live proudly as Jews in an ocean of non-Jews.

Customs for Hanukkah

Customs for Hanukkah

Beyond lighting the menorah, Hanukkah customs include special foods, the dreidel and gift-giving, especially when spending time with family.

The Arba•ah Minim

The Arba·ah Minim

Besides dwelling in a sukkah, the other significant mitzvah of Sukkot is the taking up of the arba·ah minim, literally “the four species.”

Sukkot at Home

Sukkot at Home

While celebrating Sukkot at home, rituals include lighting candles, sitting in the sukkah, and customs related to the sukkah.

Sukkot in the Synagogue

Sukkot in the Synagogue

On the mornings of Sukkot, Shacharit and Musaf follow the standard festival format. The lulav and etrog should be shaken.

Intermediate Days of Sukkot

Intermediate Days of Sukkot

The intermediate days of Sukkot, the weekdays, combine some features of festival days and normal weekdays to create wholly unique day.

Hoshana Rabbah

Hoshana Rabbah

Although the fifth intermediate day of Sukkot is known as Hoshana Rabbah, it is technically just the last day of ḥol ha-mo·eid.

Sh'mini Atzeret

Sh’mini Atzeret

The final two days of Sukkot are a totally separate holiday called Sh’mini Atzeret. Liturgy includes Yizkor and the prayer for rain.

Simḥat Torah

Simḥat Torah

Simḥat Torah means “the joy of Torah” and is the name for the day on which the annual cycle of Torah readings begins and ends.

Sh'mini Atzeret Candle Lighting

Sh’mini Atzeret Candle Lighting

The laws for lighting candles on Sh’mini Atzeret are similar to those for Shabbat. These laws also apply to Simḥat Torah.

Rituals of Sukkot

Rituals of Sukkot

Sukkot, one of the shalosh r’galim, the three pilgrimage festivals is celebrated five days after Yom Kippur.

The Sukkah

The Sukkah

The sukkah for Sukkot has some very basic requirements, but beyond these rules its construction is left to one’s imagination and creativity.

Sukkot Candle Lighting

Sukkot Candle Lighting

The laws for lighting candles on Sukkot are almost identical to the laws for Shabbat candle lighting, with the exception of covering eyes.

Ne'ilah

Ne’ilah

Ne’ilah is an additional service, recited only at the conclusion of Yom Kippur. It signifies the sealing of the Book of Life.

Minḥah on Yom Kippur

Minḥah on Yom Kippur

Minhah, the Afternoon Service, begins with the Torah service, including selections from Leviticus and the haftarah on the Book of Jonah.

Yom Kippur Musaf Service

Yom Kippur Musaf Service

The Yom Kippur Musaf Service includes two services: the Avodah service and the Martyrology service. Musaf follows Yizkor and Torah reading.

Yom Kippur Candle Lighting

Yom Kippur Candle Lighting

Following the Yom Kippur meal, candles are lit in a similar fashion to those lit on Rosh Hashanah. A Yizkor candle is also lit.

Yom Kippur Evening Service

Yom Kippur Evening Service

Maariv, the evening service, following Kol Nidrei on Erev Yom Kippur, is similar in many ways to daily Maariv but has notable differences.

Yom Kippur Morning Services

Yom Kippur Morning Services

The Yom Kippur morning service is similar to Rosh Hashanah, with the exception of the Amidah and the selections for the Torah service.

Erev Yom Kippur and the Customs Preceding It

Erev Yom Kippur and the Customs Preceding It

Preparations on Erev Yom Kippur are intrinsic to the awe-inspiring observance of the day: a special meal, candle lighting, and charity.

Kol Nidrei and Being Imperfect Together

Kol Nidrei and Being Imperfect Together

Yom Kippur begins with the dramatic Kol Nidrei service, intended to annul vows made between yourself and God.

Yom Kippur Yizkor Service

Yom Kippur Yizkor Service

The Memorial Service, Yizkor, is recited on Yom Kippur, one of four times throughout the year, to remember loved ones and Jewish martyrs.

Tashlikh: A Quick Overview

Tashlikh: A Quick Overview

One of the beautiful customs associated with Rosh Hashanah is Tashlikh, a brief service that takes place by a body of water.

Rosh Hashanah Musaf Service

Rosh Hashanah Musaf Service

The Musaf Service for Rosh Hashanah contains familiar opening and closing blessings of the Amidah with the usual High Holiday interpolations.

The Days Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

The Days Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

The days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are known as the Ten Days of Repentance and include the Fast of Gedaliah.

blurry image of lots of bread with the words What is hameitz and what do we do with it?

What is Hameitz and what do we do with it?

Hametz, is defined as any food made of wheat, barley, oats, spelt, and rye—that has been made wet and left unbaked for more than 18 minutes.

Image of matzah, matzah cover with the word pesah on it in hebrew, and a kiddush cup with the words: Passover, Nisan, and the Fast of the Firstborn: Before Passover Begins

Passover, Nisan, and the Fast of the Firstborn: Before Passover Begins

Passover, commemorates the exodus from Egypt. On a spiritual level, the festival confronts us with the notion of redemption.

Image of a seder plate with the words The Seder an overview

The Seder: An Overview

The Passover seder is the cumulative result of untold generations of Jews telling the same story, the Exodus from Egypt.

image of bread roll for eiruv tavshilin

What is an Eiruv Tavshilin?

One is only permitted to cook on festivals to make food for the holiday itself, not for other days. There is an exception: eiruv tavshilin.