Rabbi Sherman’s Weekly Torah Commentary – October 9-10, 2020 (22 Tishrei 5781)

October 9-10, 2020
22 Tishrei 5781              

Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah

Back in the spring, we were devastated when we learned that because of COVID-19 we could not be together for our community Passover Seder. At that time, we never imagined that we still would not be together for our Holy Days and for Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah. Yet, we found creative ways to celebrate while physically distanced in our Sukkah, and now we are preparing a virtual Simchat Torah celebration with music and with joy.

Even though we have to keep our distance and limit activities, we call these days z’man simchateinu (the time of our joy). During this season we greet each other with “Chag sameach” (happy holiday) on the first two days and last day of the holidays. During chol ha-moed (intermediate days), we greet each other with “Moadim l‘simcha” (seasons of joy), and we return that greeting with “Chagim uz’manim l’sasson” (holidays and times for celebration).

This is a familiar trope for these last few months. We hold in our hearts all those who are suffering and struggling; at the same time, we find ways to fill our festival and holiday celebrations with joy and gladness.

Cantor Arie Shikler will join me on the bima on Simchat Torah. He will lead us in singing joyous songs, he will chant from the end of Deuteronomy (the death of Moses) and from the beginning of Genesis (the account of Creation), and he will share his knowledge of the history of the Israeli flag. We will distribute song sheets and flags on Friday. Join the service on Channel 1960. Wave your flag, sing along with us, and share the joy!

Please join our Shabbat Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah celebrations on Channel 1960:
Friday at 4:30 PMShabbat Shemini Atzeret Ma’ariv (Evening Service)
Saturday at 10:00 AMShabbat Shemini Atzeret Shacharit (Morning Service) & Yizkor (Memorial Service)
Sunday at 10:00 AMShabbat Simchat Torah Shacharit (Morning Service) with Cantor Shikler

We will be using Siddur Sim Shalom. You may borrow one from the Synagogue, or feel free to call or email me and I will be happy to personally deliver one to you before Friday’s service.

Candle lighting times for the city of Mission Viejo:
Friday evening at 6:06 PM
Saturday evening light holiday candles after 6:59 PM
Sunday evening holiday ends at 6:58 PM

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach
Rabbi Sherman