| Excerpt from
DAYS: A Spiritual Guide to the High Holidays
Tishrei 21, 7th day of Sukkot, Hoshana Rabba
ONE TWIG AND ONE LEAF
The word simple, when applied to
human beings or physical objects, usually implies an absence
of something. A simple man, for example, is one who has not
been blessed with much intelligence or depth of feeling.
There is, however, another application of the
word simplein the sense of something that
is pure and singular, as opposed to something that consists
of various parts and elements. Thus G-d is described as simple
In our world, we have no model for such a simple
oneness, for even the most homogeneous entity is a composite
of various parts, qualities and aspects. G-d, however, is
utterly and absolutely one.
And yet, the Baal Shem Tov draws a parallel
between human simplicity, defined by a lack of
learning and spiritual sophistication, and the Divine simplicity.
He singles for distinction the simple Jew who has a simple
faith in G-d not observed in his more sophisticated fellows.
This is not because scholars do not possess faith or commitment
to G-d (which is intrinsic to every Jewish soul), but because,
in them, its innocence is blurred by the sophistication of
On Hoshana Rabba we celebrate the simple Jew
by selecting for a special mitzvah the simple willow
twig. Indeed, the day is called Day of the Willow.
Among the four kinds, the willow twig stands for
a Jew who neither excels in his wisdom nor his accomplishments,
and it is the willow twig that makes Hoshana Rabba.
Generally, when the four kinds are
waved, there must be at least two willow twigs, each with
at least three leaves, but the special mitzvah of Hoshana
Rabba is fulfilled with just one willow twig, which need only
have one leaf.
This mitzvah is considered so important
the rabbis of the Talmud arranged the Jewish calendar in such
a way that Hoshana Rabba never falls on Shabbat when the handling
of tree branches or twigs would be forbidden.
Hoshana Rabba must be kept aloof of the changes
and vacillations of this world. If the cycles of time threaten
its consistency, we must divert these cycles, manipulating
the calendar if necessary, to ensure that the simplicity of
the willow twigthe simplicity of the Jew who puts all
his trust in G-dalways assert itself on the seventh
day of Sukkot.
On Hoshana Rabbathe seventh day
of the willowthe priests would circle the Temple altar
with willows in hand. (Talmud)
This is the final day of judgment for
water, source of all blessings (Levush). On the seventh
day of Sukkot the judgment of the world is finalized and the
edicts are sent forth from the King. (Zohar)
Today we welcome our final Sukkot guest, King
David, who represents nobility (malchut). He brings
with him the blessing contained in the verse from the Book
of Isaiah (44:17): No weapon that is formed against
you shall succeed. Todays focus is on cultivating
our true dignity, built on the firm belief that nothing (no
weapon) can succeed in undermining our inherent connection
Laws And Customs:
Special prayers see Prayer Section for
Some have the custom of wishing each other pitka
tova or gemar tov being that Hoshana Rabba is the
final day of sealing the decrees.
Festival clothes are worn. Some wear white clothes
like Yom Kippur, and light the candles which remain from Yom
We eat an especially festive meal. Ashkenazic
Jews eat kreplach (small squares of rolled pasta dough
filled with ground beef or chicken and folded into triangles).
They are traditionally served at the pre-Yom Kippur meal,
on Hoshana Rabba and on Purim.
Today is the last day on which we fulfill the
mitzvot of the four kinds and dwelling
in the sukkah (though many have the custom of dwelling in
a sukkah on Shemini Atzeret as well).
We conclude the daily recitation of Psalm 27,
which began 51 days ago, on Rosh Chodesh Elul.
Tonight begins Shemini Atzeret. We light festival
candles before sunset.
The Shemini Atzeret evening prayer is the same
as on the other holidays, with special mention of this particular
Kiddush is made holiday style in the
Many communities begin the hakofot celebration
with the Torah tonight (see tomorrow).
Hoshana Rabbathe day of Great Salvationsets
the final seal of judgment,
when the verdict written on Rosh Hashana and sealed on Yom
Kippur, is made final.
The reason for this is because Hoshana Rabba is the seventh
and final day of Sukkot, when the world is judged for water,
upon which life is dependent. And since all depends
on the final decision, Hoshana Rabba, the final day
of Sukkot, is the day when the final decision is made regarding
the judgment for all of life. Hence it is a powerful day,
compared in some ways to Yom Kippur, with additional prayers
Although the Torah does not give this day special
status, Jews traditionally observe many customs on this day
and have invested it with a solemn character.
Tishrei 22, Shemini Atzeret
A DAY RICH WITH ESSENCE
The name of this holiday, Shemini Atzeret, has
The Hebrew word shemini means eighth
but it comes from the same root as shuman meaning fat
or rich. The Hebrew word atzeret can mean
retention/absorption or restraint/retreat
or in-gathering/assembly. And it can also mean
essence. Thus Shemini Atzeret represents the richness
of the essence of the entire year, because this day consummates
all the energy of the holidays of Tishrei and channels
it into all the days of the year.
Rashi, in his commentary on Torah, explains
the significance of Shemini Atzeret with the following parable:
There was once a king who invited his children
for a banquet of several days. When it came time for them
to go, he said to them: My children, please, stay with
me one more dayyour parting is difficult for me....
In the parable, the king does not say, our
parting is difficult for me, but your parting
is difficult for me. Indeed, G-d is everywhere and so
He never parts from us. It is we who part from G-d, moving
on to a state of diminished awareness of our relationship
Your parting has yet another meaningthe
parting we take from each other, which, in G-ds eyes,
is synonymous with us parting from Him. When we are one with
G-d, we are also one with each other, united as children of
our royal father. The same applies in reverse: when we are
one with each other, united in our common identity as G-ds
children, we are one with G-d.
This parting is distressful to G-d. So He retains
us one day longer, for an eighth day of retention
or absorption or ingatheringa
day on which dwelling in the sukkah is no longer a commandment
but on which the unity of Sukkot suffuses us nonetheless.
On this day it is not we who are in the sukkah,
but the sukkah is within us. On this day we are empowered
to internalize the unity of Sukkot, to distill it into an
essence, and store it in the pith of our souls so that we
may draw on it in the months to come.
Shemini Atzeret, Eighth Day of Assembly
or Eighth Day of Retention, retains and absorbs
the attainments of the seven days of Sukkot and the entire
month of Tishrei.
The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall
be the festival of Sukkot for seven days.... The eighth day
shall be a sacred calling to you
it is an atzeret
(a time of retention). (Leviticus 23:33-36)
On Shemini Atzeret the joy is reserved
for Israel alone, and they are the private guest of the king
who can obtain any request which he makes. (Zohar
Shemini Atzeret is the conclusion and consummation
of the entire holiday season; it retains the conception
that results on this day from our union with G-d; it guarantees
that birth will follow. Shemini Atzeret channels all the energy
of the holiday into our lives so that it can bear fruit all
This one day is therefore filled with enormous power:
1. The final
day of all judgments,
when the decree and verdict is sent on its way.
2. The day
when we say the primary prayer for rainthe source of
3. We dance
with unbridled joy for the Torah, for the Second Tablets and
the forgiveness we received on Yom Kippur.
Shemini Atzeret is unique in the fact that on
this day single offerings were brought in the Temple (one
bullock, one ram), unlike all other holidays, and especially
Sukkot when each day these offerings were brought in multiple
numbers. The Talmud explains the reason, with a parable of
After asking his servants to join him for a
large banquet (the seventy offerings during Sukkot), on the
last day the king asks his beloved: Please join me for
a small meal, so that I can take pleasure in you.
After elevating the entire world during Sukkot through the
seventy offerings, Shemini Atzeret is the single day when
everything else is put aside and we, the single nationare
alone and intimate with the King,
without any strangers present, 
for one last time before entering the dark, cold days of winter.
Laws and Customs:
Prayers are the same as on Sukkot, with Shemini
Special rain prayer is said in Musaf.
Close to the end of the day it is customary
to enter the sukkah for the final time and say goodbye,
by eating something.
Simchat Torah begins this evening (outside of
Israel). Following the recitation of the 17 verses of Atoh
Horeiso, we take out the Torah scrolls from the ark and
make a hakofah (circling) around the bimah
in the synagogue, singing and dancing with the Torah scrolls
with great joy, in grand celebration of the special gift that
G-d gave usthe Torah. We repeat this for seven hakofot.
(For more on this subject see tomorrows entry.)
Tishrei 23, Simchat Torah
CELEBRATION OF THE INDESTRUCTIBLE
On Simchat Torah we complete the cycle of reading
the Torah (the last verses of the Book of Deuteronomy) and
we begin anew (with the Book of Genesis).
The very last words of the Torah read:
the great deeds which Moses performed before the eyes of all
Israel. (Deuteronomy 34:12)
Rashi states that this refers to Moses
breaking of the tablets. But, surely, his breaking the tablets was a
failing rather than an accomplishment. How could it be a great
It was a great deed because his breaking of
the tablets made possible the inscribing of the second tablets
which were indestructible.
The first tablets can be compared to a tzaddika
person who is born innocent and leads a holy life; the second
to a baal teshuvah (master of return)a
person who falls, but then gets up, repents and starts anew,
and is infinitely stronger for the experience.
The second tabletswhich came into being
because the first ones were brokenreflect the challenge
of life itself: the fall of man and his ability to rise to
new, unprecedented heights.
The second tablets also reflect the power of
human initiative: They were carved by Moses and were given
by G-d on Yom Kippur after 80 days of Moses tireless
efforts. The second tablets therefore revealed a new dimension
in our relationship with G-d. That even after we have fallen,
through our efforts (of teshuvah), we can demonstrate
the invincibility of our inherent connection with G-d and
Torah, that transcends all our weaknesses. It was the breaking
of the first tablets that uncovered this power and invincibility.
The second tablets, in short, revealed a new
and unprecedented dimension within us, the Torah,
and our relationship with G-d.
Simchat Torah is the celebration of that new
dimension. We therefore dance with absolute passion and no
limits. We dance with our legs, our arms wrapped around a
Torah scroll. It is a dance that touches the very essence
of the Jew, the very essence of the Torah, and the very essence
of G-d. It is a dance that transcends our limited intellects
and emotions, that encompasses all people, regardless of education,
background, and spiritual station. It is an infinite dance
that touches immortality itself.
The 48 hours of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat
Torah should be greatly cherished. In every moment (of these
two days) we can draw treasures in pitchers and barrels, materially
and spiritually. And we do this through our dancing.
(The Rebbe Sholom Ber)
Simchat Torah means two things: We celebrate
(simcha) with the Torah, and the Torah celebrates with
us. (The Rebbe Yosef Yitzchak)
not specifically mentioned in the written or oral Torahmarks the climax of the festival-rich month of Tishrei.
As the final day of the holiday season, it epitomizes the
power of the entire month of Tishrei. The awe of Rosh Hashana,
the sacredness of Yom Kippur, the unity and joy of Sukkot,
all reach their highest expression on Simchat Torah as we rejoice in the Torah and
the Torah rejoices in us. Thus, Simchat Torah represents,
in many ways, the highest point of the year, certainly the
most joyous one.
The Hakofot (circlings) around
the Torah platform are containers for the highest Divine revelations,
which come in a form of circles (iggulim in
Kabbalistic terms). They are too great to be restricted in
limited containers; they therefore can only be expressed in
an explosive circling dance.
Without experiencing it personally, it is impossible
to describe the joyful exuberance of the Simchat Torah celebration
in Jewish communities worldwide. What can be plainly stated
is that the joy, the dancing and the singing is at the greatest
possible level that mortals can achieve.
We dance with our legs, and they lift our entire
beingseven our minds and heartsto places that
we could not have reached on our own. This dance is the Dance
of the Essencethe essence that transcends all
levels, layers and definitions. As we say in the verses recited
before the dancing: Youin Your absolute Essencehave
revealed Yourself so that we know You.
This essencethe Youcannot
be accessed with the mind, the heart and any of our limited
and defined tools. It can only be accessed by reaching into
our own essence, and breaking into a dance with profound innocence,
with no limits and constraints, with no considerations and
We dance with each other and with G-d. We dance
and celebrate the very essence of life and the gift of our
After all the outpouring of prayers during this
month, all the mitzvot, all the different expressions
of awe and loveit all comes down to an unadulterated
celebration of dance and song that expresses most our absolute
passion and fundamental connection with G-d.
 How was the mitzvah of aravah fulfilled?
There was a place below Jerusalem called Motza. They would
go down there and pick branches of willows and would then
come and place them alongside the altar with the heads (of
the willow branches) bent over the altar. They then sounded
the shofar: a tekiah, a teruah, and a tekiah. Each day they
would circle the altar once and say, "Ana Hashem Hoshiah
Na (Please, G-d, bring us salvation), Ana Hashem Hatzlichah
Na (Please, G-d, bring us success)'... On that day (i.e.,
Hoshana Rabba) they circled the altar seven times. When
they had finished they would say, "Beauty is yours,
O altar, beauty is yours." As was done during the week
was done on Shabbat (i.e., if Hoshana Rabba fell on a Shabbat)
except (that if it was Shabbat) they would gather them (the
aravos) on the eve (of Shabbat) and place them in golden
basins so that they would not become wilted (Sukkah 45a).
 Zohar III 31b-32a. II 132a. The Zohar explains that
this is alluded to in the verse, And Isaac returned
and redug the wells of water (Genesis 26:18). Wells
is written with a missing letter. What does it mean that
Isaac returned? This passage refers to the day
of Hoshana Rabba. Isaac (gevurah), having sat on the Throne
of Judgment, which begins on the first day of the seventh
month [Rosh Hashana], now returns to awaken the gevurot
(severities of judgment) and to conclude them. So he redigs
the wells of water to pour gevurot upon Israel to stimulate
the waters, because gevurot (their power and might) cause
water to fall to earth. On this day we awaken the gevurot
which send the rain, and to circle the altar seven times
and sate it with the water of Isaac, in order to fill the
well of Isaac with this water, and then all the world is
blessed with water. [Hoshana Rabba is the day of judgment
for the waters, and this day concludes the judgment that
began on Rosh Hashana]. This is also why on this day we
take willows of the brook and strike them on
the ground to put an end to the severities that come from
the brook, which refer to Isaacs wells
Rabba the idolatrous nations come to the end of their blessings
and enter into judgment, and Israel come to the end of their
judgments and enter into blessings. For on the next day
[Shemini Atzeret] they rejoice privately with the King and
receive from Him blessings for the entire year ands obtain
any request which they make.
 Malchut is the seventh and final emotion,
completing the full emotional spectrum of our relationship
with G-d, with ourselves and with other people. On each
of the first six days of Sukkot we refined one of the six
corresponding emotions; on Hoshana Rabba we conclude and
elevate all of them (thus, the seven Hoshanot and
the seven circles), culminating the building of malchut,
the coronation of G-d as our King, that began on Rosh Hashana
21 days ago.
Malchut also relates to the inherent
dignity and majesty within each of us, by virtue of the
fact that each of us is created in the Divine image and
is a child of the Divine King. (See also Tishrei
3.) In his blessing today King David is essentially saying:
no weapon can succeed in undermining our inherent
and indispensable value resulting from our unwavering relationship
and absolute connection with G-d. (See also Tishrei
 Siddur Torah Ohr. See Shaar HaKolel ibid, citing
the Chida (in Moreh Betzba). In some places it says
to recite the psalm until Simchat Torah (Siddur Arizal of
 With the blessing: Blessed Are You, O G-d, King of the
Universe, who sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded
us to light the flame of the holiday. (On Shabbat
say, to light the flame of Shabbos and the flame of
the holiday.) Then say the Shehecheyanu blessing:
Blessed are You, O G-d, King of the Universe, Who
has kept us alive and sustained us and brought us to this
 This day has several names:
Seventh day of the willow (Mishne Sukkah 42b).
Day of the willow (Siddur Rasag). The day of the beating
of the willow (Sukkah 45a). Hoshana (Vayikra Rabba 37:2).
Hoshana Rabba (Midrash Tehillim (Buber) 17:5).
Reasons for the name Hoshana Rabba:
~ Hoshana Rabba means the great salvation.
This is the final and primary day of judgment (which begins
on Sukkot) for the upcoming years blessing of water,
upon which all of life is dependent. We therefore designate
this end of the water year as an important day,
by reciting special prayers beseeching G-d for deliverance
(Rokeach 221. Tur and Levush 664).
~ Hoshana Rabba means the great Hoshana. Because
on this day we recite a large number (rabba)
of hoshana prayers.
~ Today is 26 days from the day of creation
(Elul 25). 26 is the gematria of G-ds holy name (Havaya),
which is called a great name, shem rabba,
therefore the day is called Hoshana Rabba (Bachya Deuteronomy
33:21). This is also the reason that on Hoshana Rabba we
stop saying psalm 27, because we have now completed the
full cycle of the 26 (days) of compassion related to G-ds
great name, and Hoshana Rabba is the end of judgments
and we no longer need the psalm for this purpose (Shaar
HaKolel ch. 45:6).
~ Hoshana is another name for the willow twig
(arovah). Hoshana Rabba is thus: Great Willow, which is
the main focus of this day the day of the willow.
On this day the priests would circle the Temple Altar with
willows in hand. We commemorate this today by circling
the bimah seven times, and then gather five willow twigs,
and at the conclusion of the hoshanot prayer, strike them
on the ground five times. This aravah rite was prescribed
for Hoshana Rabba, because the aravah grows near water,
and Hoshana Rabba is the judgment day for water.
 G-d says to Abraham, I am unique and you are
unique, I will give your children a unique day to atone
for their sins, the day of Hoshana Rabba. Because
the name of G-d (Ehe-ye) is the gematria (numerical
equivalent) of 21, and Abraham was unique in the 21st generation
after Adam, and so Hoshana Rabba is the 21st of Tishrei.
G-d said to Abraham: If your children were not redeemed
on Rosh Hashana, they can be redeemed on Yom Kippur, and
if not then, it will be on Hoshana Rabba (Mateh Moshe 957).
 They seek me day [after] day (Isaiah 58:2)
this is tekiyah and aravah (Talmud Yerushalmi, Rosh Hashana
4:8). Everyone is seeking G-d on Rosh Hashana (tekiyah)
and Hoshana Rabba (arovah), because on Rosh Hashana is the
beginning of the judgment, and Hoshana Rabba is the conclusion
(Yefei Mareh ad loc). See Zohar III 31b-32a. II 132a. The
difference between Hoshana Rabba and Shemini Atzeret in
this regard is explained in Zohar I 220a, that the decree
is sealed on Hoshana Rabba, but delivered to the messengers
on Shemini Atzeret. See Pri Etz Chaim Shaar HaLulav ch.
4. Asoreh Maamorot, Maamar Choker Din, sec. 2 ch. 26-27.
Sheilat Yaavetz ch. 33.
 See Rameh of Pano (Asorah Maamorot, Choker Din,
sec. 2 ch. 24): On the first Rosh Hashana, when G-d came
to judge Adam for the first sin, He spoke to him about the
event, and hinted to him the mystery and the days and hour
of mans judgment. G-d said to Adam Ayeko,
where are you? The four letters of Ayeko in
Hebrew is an acronym which tells us the mystery of Divine
Alef the 1st of Tishrei, Rosh Hashana
the beginning of the judgment
Yud the 10th of Tishrei, Yom Kippur
the conclusion of the judgment
Chof the 20th of Tishrei, after which
comes Hoshana Rabba, when the judgment is sealed
Heh the 5th day of the week (when the
first Hoshana Rabba fell), and the 5th hour of the day,
when the sealed judgment is given to the messengers for
There are 243 hours from Rosh Hashana till
the end of Yom Kippur (including the additional hours that
we add to holy days). Gemar (end of judgment) is 243.
243 more hours between Yom Kippur and Hoshana
Rabba. For a total of 486 btuf umochol
after tuf (486) hours your mochul (forgiveness) will
On Hoshana Rabba we have the power to achieve
complete forgiveness and healing 21 days after Man
was created and 26 (Havaya) days after the creation.
This is why we add in prayers and forgiveness
on Hoshana Rabba.
 Rashi on Leviticus 23:36; cf. Midrash Shir Hashirim
Rabba 7:4: The Atzeret of the festival of Sukkot ought to
have been fifty days later, like the Atzeret of Passover.
Why, indeed, does Shemini Atzeret immediately follow Sukkot?
Rabbi Joshua offers the following parable in explanation:
A king had many daughters. Some of them were
married off nearby, and some of them were married off in
faraway places. One day, they all came to visit the king,
their father. Said the king: Those who are married
off nearby have the time to go and come; but those who are
married off afar do not have the time to go and come. Since
they are all here with me, I will make one festival for
them all and I shall rejoice with them.
Thus, with the Atzeret of Passover, when we
are coming from winter into summer, G-d says: They
have the time to go and come. But with the Atzeret
of Sukkot, since we are coming from summer into winter,
and the dust of the roads is difficult and the byroads are
difficult ... G-d says: They do not have the time
to go and come; so, since they are all here, I will make
one festival for them all and I shall rejoice with them.
See also note 3.
 This is also emphasized in Midrash (Pesikta Drav
Kahana, on Shemini Atzeret): G-d wanted to give Israel a
holiday in each of the summer months. In Nissan Passover.
Iyar Pesach Sheni. Sivan Shavuot. In Tammuz
he wanted to give them a great holiday, but because they
built the golden calf they lost [holidays in] three months,
Tammuz, Av and Elul. Tishrei compensates for these three
months with its three holidays: Rosh Hashana compensates
for Tammuz. Yom Kippur compensates for Av, and Sukkot compensates
for Elul. Then G-d said: He [Tishrei] is able to compensate
for others, but not for himself?! [What holiday does Tishrei
get?] Give him the day of Shemini Atzeret. And this is the
meaning in Shemini Atzeret will be to you.
Shemini Atzeret is thus the essence of all the holidays
 This is also related to the fact that the 515
prayers of Moses to enter the Promised Land began on Rosh
Hashana and concluded on the morning of Shemini Atzeret
a period of 516 hours (21 days x 24 hours + 12 hours
of Shemini Atzeret eve), one hour for each of Moses 515
prayers. In the final (516th) hour the decree
was sealed and delivered and Moses was told he should no
 Shemini Atzeret is the final day of sealing all
the judgments. On Rosh Hashana the judgments and edicts
are written, on Yom Kippur they are sealed and on Hoshana
Rabba the sealing is finalized. On Shemini Atzeret the sealed
edicts are delivered to the messengers in order
to be implemented (Zohar 1 220a. Pri Etz Chaim Shaar HaLulav
ch. 4. The Rameh of Pano (Asorah Maamorot, Chokur Din sec.
2 chs. 26-27) explains that the edicts are sealed and sent
out on Hoshana Rabba, and on Shemini Atzeret begins a new
order). That is when we dance in unbridled joy, with the
absolute confidence that we have prevailed. This dance in
turn bewilders the messengers and helps guarantee
that the edicts be only sweet ones.
 The prayer for rain on Shemini Atzeret brings
to conclusion all the blessings and love of the holiday
season, symbolized in water. Shemini Azteret absorbs and
consummates the relationship developed through the month
of Tishrei, and ensures that it will be watered
and nurtured throughout the year. Thats why Shemini
Atzeret is so vital to the welfare of our lives for the
 Sukkah 55b. Cited in Rashi Numbers 29:35-36.
See Bamidbar Rabba 21:24. Midrash Tehillim 109.
 See Zohar I 64a-b. II 187a. See Zohar III 32a:
On Shemini Atzeret the joy is reserved for Israel alone,
and they are the private guest of the king who can obtain
any request which he makes. See also Zohar I 208b on the
verse no other person was there when Joseph confessed
to his brothers (Genesis 45:1).
 Proverbs 5:17. Shemot Rabba 15:23.
 In the continuing analogy of our developing relationship
with G-d: After the preparatory days of Elul and the renewal
of Rosh Hashana comes Yom Kippur, the day of marriage,
with the giving of the Torah in the second tablets. This
is followed by the Sukkot celebration with all the guests
the seventy nations and everyone receives
their blessings and gifts. Shemini Atzeret is the conclusion
and consummation of the marriage, when we are alone with
On each of the seven days of Sukkot, we make
a complete circle during Hoshanot, each day/circle
corresponding to one of the seven emotions, one of the seven
Sabbatical cycles of time. On Hoshana Rabba we circle seven
times, encompassing and uniting all the seven cycles that
affect all of existence (like the seventy offerings corresponding
to the seventy nations). We then are ready to enter Shemini
Atzeret, the great Jubilee, when we spend time with the
King alone (Tolaat Yaakov Shemini Azteret. Cited By Shaloh,
end of Mesechta Sukkah. See also Asorah Maamorot, Choker
Din, sec. 2 ch. 27). This also corresponds to the four letters
of G-ds holy name: Yud Yom Kippur (10th
yud of Tishrei), Heh 5 days after Yom
Kippur is Sukkot, Vov six days later is Hoshana Rabba,
Heh Shemini Atzeret, the small meal (Shaloh
 Rashi on Deuteronomy. 34:12. His heart
emboldened him to break the tablets before their eyes, as
it is written, [and I took hold of the two tablets
and threw them from my two hands] and I broke them before
your eyes. (Ibid 8:15). G-d's opinion then concurred
with his opinion, as it is written, [... the first
tablets,] which you broke (exodus 34:1) ---I affirm
your strength for having broken them.
 He will tell you secrets of wisdom, doubly
powerful (Job 11:6). Shemot Rabba 46:1: G-d said to
Moses: Do not be distressed over the First Tablets, which
contained only the Ten Commandments. In the Second Tablets
I am giving you also Halachah, Midrash and Agadah.
 Sefer HaMaamorim p. 79.
 Sichat Simchat Torah 5703. 5736.
 It is the custom in these
lands on the night and day of Simchat Torah to take all
the Torah scrolls out of the ark. Psalms and prayers are
recited, in each community according to its custom. It is
also customary to circle the reading table in the synagogue
with the Torah scrolls ... all this to increase the joy.
(Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 669:1).
 Which is what makes this such a powerful celebration,
being that it is initiated from below, out of
our love for G-d (see Introduction to Hoshana Rabba). Yet,
every authentic Jewish custom is based in Torah. Indeed,
we find reference to Simchat Torah in the Zohar (III 256b):
Jews have the custom to celebrate on Shemini Atzeret, and
it is called by the name Simchat Torah. They
adorn the Torah scroll with its crown
See also Zohar
III 214b. Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 21 (56a).
We also have a source in Midrash for celebrating
at the conclusion of the Torah. The Midrash derives this
from King Solomons celebration upon hearing that G-d
is granting him wisdom more than anyone that ever lived
or will ever live (Midrash Rabba, Shir Hashirim 1). Early
sages write, that this is why we celebrate on Simchat Torah
to honor the conclusion of the Torah (HaEshkol p.
105. See Tikkunei Zohar 2i. Nitzuzei Zohar ibid. Rabbi Zevin
in HaMoedim bHalacha ch. 6).
One can say that Moses was actually the first
one who celebrated Simchat Torah, when he concluded the
Torah (Torat Sholom p. 2).
 There are 13 days between
Yom Kippur and Simchat Torah, in which the 13 attributes
of compassion (of Yom Kippur) manifest and are revealed
all the forty days from Rosh Chodesh Elul
to Yom Kippur) are a preparation for Simchat Torah.
(Siddur Shaar HaElul 227d. 231a).
 After all the revelations of the holiday season,
in the form of makif and pnimi (see introduction
to Hoshana Rabba), we are now ready to receive the greatest
makifim, and then internalize them. The revelation
of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur becomes manifest on Sukkot
in a revealed way. But on Sukkot it is still in a form of
makif. On Shemini Atzeret this revelation is retained in
a pnimiyut, internalized. And then higher level of makif
are revealed during the hakofot of Simchat Torah (Ohr HaTorah
Vzot HaBrocho p. 1867). Shemini Atzeret is retention
and consummation. Simchat Torah is the beginning
of the revelation and drawing down, which empowers us to
integrate the energy of Tishrei into the entire year (Sichat
Shemini Atzeret 5703. Likkutei Sichot vol. 9 p. 394). On
Shemini Atzeret G-d gives us the ability to become true
containers to contain all the energy. Shemini Atzeret is
the revelation of an Essential light, but the light is sealed
and locked from every side. We open these containers with
our dancing on Simchat Torah (Likkutei Dibburim vol. 1pp.