Our tradition teaches that the season of teshuvah does not end with Yom Kippur; rather, it continues through Sukkot all the way to the end of Hoshanah Rabbah. In these final days, we are presented with one last chance to return—repairing what’s broken and immersing ourselves in prayer and introspection. Shemini Atzeret arrives as we take a moment of pause before the exhilarating celebration of Simhat Torah. Through our curated resources, we invite you to discover the many ways that we might prepare for the final days of this transformative season.
Holding and Being Held: A Theology of Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret with Rabbi Aviva Richman
Shemini Atzeret is celebrated the day after Sukkot concludes. It is a strange holiday, without any concrete ritual—known by the rabbis as the holiday of lingering, like when the visit is over, but no one really wants to say goodbye. It is a liminal holiday—coming between the fullness of all the Holy Days of Tishrei at the beginning and the many ensuing months that feature no special days.
Nizakher Venikatev: A Reflective Guide to Hoshana Rabbah, Shemini Atzeret, Simhat Torah
Think back to what you were doing and feeling at the end of Yom Kippur. Did you feel a sense of relief? Of purity? Did you still have any lingering regrets or negative thoughts? Hoshana Rabbah reminds us that it is still not too late to work through our remaining problems. Is there an action you can take today that will continue the work you began during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur? Explore these questions in our reflective guide for Hoshana Rabbah, Shemini Atzeret, and Simhat Torah.
Rabbi Rachel Barenblat: The Silence After the Chant
Rabbi Rachel Barenblat has blogged as the Velveteen Rabbi since 2003. Author of several volumes of poetry and a founding builder at Bayit: Building Jewish, she serves Congregation Beth Israel in North Adams, MA.
Looking for God in a Time of Chaos: A Simhat Torah Seder and Haggadah
Looking for a way to enhance your at-home Simhat Torah celebration? We are pleased to share this resource created by members of the Clergy Cohort of the Hadar Jewish Wisdom Fellowship, including our own Rabbi Shuli Passow.
Simhat Torah Singing with Michael Harlow
Join BJ Music Educator Michael Harlow with a familiar tune to get in the spirit of Simhat Torah, the celebration of finishing the reading of the Torah for the Jewish year.
Endings & Beginnings: Explaining Simchat Torah with Parshat Bereshit
Check out this video resource from BimBam that uses animation and straightforward explanations to talk about the essence of Simhat Torah and envision it as seen through the eyes of the Torah’s first parashah, Bereshit.