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No Chance to Sin

Thursday, 27 September, 2012 - 11:38 pm

When speaking of the Mitzvah of the Lulav and Etrog, the Torah states “and you shall take for yourselves on the first day.” The Talmud defines the first day (of Sukkot) as the first day in the reckoning of sins. Since we achieve atonement on Yom Kippur for our sins, a new account is started for the new year. What about the four days between Yom Kippur and Sukkot; couldn’t sins be committed on those days? The Talmud concludes that one does not have the opportunity to sin because there is so much to do in preparation for the holiday of Sukkot. “This one is busy with his Sukkah, this one is busy with his Lulav.”

These four days between Yom Kippur and Sukkot are also referred to as Gott’s Nomen (Yiddish for G-d’s name) as each of the four days corresponds to another letter in the Tetragrammaton. In other words we are in a very special time now, still operating under the glow of holiness from Yom Kippur and eagerly preparing for the most joyous season in the Jewish calendar – the Festival of Sukkot/Simchat Torah.

The holiday of Sukkot is one of the times when we can really see how far Judaism has come in New Orleans. When I was a child there were not a lot of families that had a Sukkah or even their own Lulav and Etrog set. Now we see Sukkahs popping up everywhere and I love the sight of people streaming to Shul on Sukkot holding their Lulav and Etrog sets.

I consider it my privilege to offer the use of my Lulav and Etrog to someone that does not have their own and would like to do the Mitzvah. Please let me know if you would like to take me up on that offer.

Of course Sukkot is also the opening act for the ultimate in joyous celebration – Simchat Torah. Simchat Torah is my favorite holiday of the year. Simchat Torah at Chabad is very special and I invite you all to come and celebrate with us uptown or in Metairie on Monday night, October 8.

In the meantime, enjoy the Sukkot prep frenzy and your time off from sins.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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