SUN, Dec 17 – Advent 3 (Joy)

    8am • Old red library in Jackson / zoom

    • Join us for poetry, prayer, and conversation.
    • Or join us over Zoom:
      • Link and password required
    9:15am • JCC (in-person only)

    • Come to prepare two songs for the Advent and Christmas season
  • SUNDAY WORSHIP with Advent 3: Joy
    10:30am   • Jackson Community Church (zoom also available)

    • Music by Sharon Novak
    • Reflection by Rev Gail Doktor
    • Candle-lighting by Verran family
    • Christmas choir performance of Carol Medley
    • Or join us over Zoom:
      • Link and password required
  • Community Resource: JACKSON XC SKI TOURING
    Open for skiing. More info:
  • Community Event: CHRISTMAS CAROL (final day)
    3:30pm • M&D Playhouse, North Conway

    • Directed by Siobhan Stevens
    • Members of JCC’s community are performing in this production
    • Additional performances:Thurs, Dec 14 @ 7:30pm, Fri, Dec 15 @ 7:30pm, Sat, Dec 16 @ 7:30pm, Sun, Dec 17 @ 3:30pm
    • All Seats – $29
    • Tickets:
  • Community Event: ARTISAN NIGHT
    5-9pm • Shannon Door

    • Artisan shop open at Shannon Door
  • Community Event: OPEN HOURS @ Jackson Historical Society
    1-3pm • Jackson Historical SocietyAlso open by appointment.

    • More info:
    • White Mountain Art Sale
      • The Jackson Historical Society is holding its 21st annual White Mountain Art Sale. There are currently over 50 items from private collectors, primarily 19thcentury paintings. To see the online catalog, go to Items are available to purchase as they arrive, so check the catalog frequently to see new additions.
      • The Society is open Saturdays and Sundays 1-3pm  If you are interested in a painting, the Society can open by appointment. Contact
  • Community Event: MUSIC AROUND TOWN
    • Shannon Door: Dan Parkhurst & Rafe • 6-9pm
    • Red Parka: Blue Sunday with Juke Joint Devils • 5-8pm


THURS, Dec 22 – BLUE CHRISTMAS @ Jackson Community Church

  • 6pm • In-person only
  • Worship service
  • Gathering to observe a time of solemnity, sorrow, and hope in the midst of the holiday season

CHRISTMAS EVE,  SAT, Dec 24 @ Jackson Community Church

    • Hot cocoa
    • Caroling as we walk the journey of the holy family
    • Scripture
    • Candlelight & prayer
    • Dress warmly!
    • In-person & zoom (link & password available by emailing church by noon on Sat, Dec 24:
    • Traditional indoor service with carols, scripture, candelight
    • Harp with Dominique Dodge
    • Solo by Becca Gottlieb
    • Piano by Maisie Brown and Sharon Novak
    • Candellight
    • Carols
    • Live music
    • Zoom
    • In-person and zoom (link & password available by emailing church by noon on Sat, Dec 24:
    • Tradiotional indoor service with carols, scripture, candelight
    • Debut of Christmas song written and performed by Sharon Novak
    • Candellight
    • Carols
    • Piano with Sharon Novak

CHRISTMAS SUNDAY, Dec 25 @ Jackson Community Church

  • 10:30am • STORIES & BELLS
    • In-person and zoom (link & password available by emailing church by noon on Sat, Dec 24:
    • Piano: Sue Titus-Reid
    • Interactive Message: Gail Doktor
    • Text: Children’s Story
    • Come in your pajamas or favorite casual attire
    • Bring a sleigh bell or jingle bell if you have one, but we have plenty to share
    • Prepare to sing and ring jingle bells

Advent 3: Meditations on joy & struggling to find joy in challenging times

As our dialogue progressed, we converged on eight pillars of joy. Four were qualities of the mind: perspective, humility, humor, and acceptance. Four were qualities of the heart: forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, and generosity. — Douglas Carlton Abrams, The Book of Joy

SONGS about JOY:

Joy Unspeakable — Barbara Holmes

Joy unspeakable
erupts when you least expect it,
when the burden is greatest,
when the hope is gone
after bullets fly.
It rises
on the crest of impossibility,
it sways to the rhythm
of steadfast hearts,
and celebrates
what we cannot see.

For Joy – Jan Richardson

You can prepare
but still it will come to you
by surprise

crossing through your doorway
calling your name in greeting
turning like a child
who quickens suddenly within you

it will astonish you
how wide your heart
will open in welcome

for the joy that finds you
so ready and still
so unprepared.


JOY — Maurine Smith
Joy, joy, run over me,
Like water running over a shining stone;
And I beneath your sweet shall be
No longer hungry and alone.
The light at my heart’s gate is lit—
My love, my love, is tending it!

Joy Unspeakable Barbara Holmes
Joy Unspeakable
is not silent,
it moans, hums, and bends
to the rhythm of a dancing universe.
It is a fractal of transcendent hope,
a hologram of God’s heart,
a black hole of unknowing.

For our free African ancestors,
joy unspeakable is drum talk
that invites the spirits
to dance with us,
and tell tall tales by the fire.

For the desert Mothers and Fathers,
joy unspeakable is respite
from the maddening crowds,
And freedom from
“church” as usual.

For enslaved Africans during the
Middle Passage,
joy unspeakable is the surprise
of living one more day,
and the freeing embrace of death
chosen and imposed.

For Africans in bondage
in the Americas,
joy unspeakable is that moment of
mystical encounter
when God tiptoes into the hush arbor,
testifies about Divine suffering,
and whispers in our ears,
“Don’t forget,
I taught you how to fly
on a wing and a prayer,
when you’re ready
let’s go!”

Joy Unspeakable is humming
“how I got over”
after swimming safely
to the other shore of a swollen Ohio river
when you know that you can’t swim.
It is the blessed assurance
that Canada is far,
but not that far.

For Africana members of the
“invisible institution,” the
emerging black church,
joy unspeakable is
practicing freedom
while chains still chafe,
singing deliverance
while Jim Crow stalks,
trusting God’s healing
and home remedies,
prayers, kerosene,
and cow patty tea.

For the tap dancing, boogie woogie,
rap/rock/blues griots
who also hear God,
joy unspeakable is
that space/time/joy continuum thing
that dares us to play and pray
in the interstices of life,
it is the belief that the phrase
“the art of living”
means exactly what it says.

Joy Unspeakable
the unlikely merger of
trance and high tech lives
ecstatic songs and a jazz repertoire
Joy unspeakable is
a symphony of incongruities
of faces aglow and hearts
on fire
and the wonder of surviving together.

(summarized from the Book of Joy)

Full article:

… 4 are qualities of the spirit, and 4 are qualities of the heart.

1) Perspective

“For every event in life,” says the Dali Lama, “there are many different angles.” There is, perhaps, no greater route to joy than this. Taking a “God’s-eye perspective,” as Archbishop Tutu says, allows for the birth of empathy—the trait that creates joy not only in the one, but in the many. Empathy opens the door to togetherness, and keeps us from building walls around our individual selves—walls that keep out so many potential friends and allies. Realizing and accepting the validity of different perspectives turns “I” in to “we”...

2) Humility

… to be able to truly appreciate the people around them as equals. When we foster humility within ourselves, we find it easier to be open to the opinions of others, and to realize our own limitations. Without being open in this way, learning and growth stop—both of which are components of a happy life …

3) Humour

… the special ability to laugh, not only at life’s troubles, but at themselves and their very human foibles. … Humor that does not mock or belittle brings us closer together, and can diffuse tense situations. Humor shows us our shared ridiculousness … our common humanity … studies on humor are beginning to show that laughter boosts the immune system, relaxes the body, and protects the heart by lowering stress hormones which cause destructive inflammation.

4) Acceptance

… the ability to accept our life in all its pain, imperfection, and beauty … It is not resignation. It is not defeat. It is accepting that we must necessarily pass through the storm. It is facing suffering and asking the question, “How can we use this as something positive?” Acceptance allows us to engage life on its own terms rather than wishing, in vain, that things were different. It enables us to change and adapt, rather than becoming mired in denial, despair, and anxiety.

5) Forgiveness

Holding on to grievances is our way of wishing the past could be different. When we hang on to those negative emotions, that anger and grief and the desire for vengeance, we only hurt ourselves. And if we use those emotions to strike back and cause harm, we only invite a cycle of retribution… Forgiveness does not mean that we forget… Justice should still be sought, and the perpetrator, punished. Justice can be served without anger, without hatred, and once it is served, we must let go. Until we forgive a person that has wronged us, we allow that person to hold power over us—they effectively control our emotions.

6) Gratitude

Gratitude … is the recognition of all that holds us in the web of life and all that has made it possible to have the life that we have and the moment that we are experiencing. It allows us to shift our focus from what we lack to what we have. If acceptance is not fighting reality, gratitude means embracing it, counting blessings rather than burdens… Gratitude also connects us to others. When we are truly grateful, we remember all of those who help make our happiness possible, who bring goodness into our lives. We, then, are able to recognize those people, and enjoy them and their differences.

7) Compassion

Compassion is a sense of concern that arises when we see others suffer, and wish to see that suffering relieved. It is the bridge between empathy and kindness. A large part of being compassionate is realizing our shared humanity.  … when we think of alleviating other people’s suffering, our own suffering is reduced. … Compassion should be extended to the self, as well.

8) Generosity

Giving to others does not truly subtract from ourselves, but adds to us. … money can buy happiness, if we spend it on other people. People who give experience greater long-term life satisfaction, whether that giving is large or small… Strive to attain a generous spirit, made possible by acknowledging that you are merely a steward of your wealth, possessions, and power …

Candle of Joy —Maren Tirabassi
This old woman who cannot see well
has smeared pink lipstick
around her lips
to dress up for church.
A child, sixteen months or so,
too young to be greedy yet,
hugs a large pink balloon.
It doesn’t matter he’s a boy;
it doesn’t matter where
on the spectrum that is gender
he will grow up
to find himself, his joy.
A teenager with magenta hair,
pierced eyebrows, jean jacket over
the tilt of shoulder
which means something like –
love me, don’t love me,
stands nervous, defiant,
in the chancel
puts flame to the pink candle.
There are many more cosmic
to this season of Advent.
Through the centuries
volumes of theology
have been written
on the doctrine of Incarnation …
but always the joy is particular.
Light something.


I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy. – Tagore

We are fragile creatures, and it is from this weakness, not despite it,
that we discover the possibility of true joy.― Desmond Tutu, The Book of Joy

The beating heart of the universe is holy joy. — Martin Buber

We have God’s joy in our blood. — Frederick Buechner

To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with. – Mark Twain

The three factors that seem to have the greatest influence on increasing our happiness are our ability to reframe our situation more positively, our ability to experience gratitude, and our choice to be kind and generous. — Dalai Lama

When you are grateful, you are not fearful, and when you are not fearful, you are not violent. When you are grateful, you act out of a sense of enough and not out of a sense of scarcity, and you are willing to share. If you are grateful, you are enjoying the differences between people and respectful to all people. The grateful world is a world of joyful people. Grateful people are joyful people. A grateful world is a happy world. — Brother Steindl-Rast

What is Joy?… While happiness is temporary and is based upon happenings, joy is from the Lord and you can still experience joy during trials, suffering, and testing. Joy is permanent but happiness is fleeting. —Jack Wellman,

From joy I came,
For joy I live,
and in Thy sacred joy
I shall melt again.
— Paramahamsa Yogananda

STRUGGLES, SUFFERING & JOY: Sometimes It’s Hard to Access Joy

Discovering more joy does not, I’m sorry to say, save us from the inevitability of hardship and heartbreak. In fact, we may cry more easily, but we will laugh more easily, too. Perhaps we are just more alive. Yet as we discover more joy, we can face suffering in a way that ennobles rather than embitters. We have hardship without becoming hard. We have heartbreak without being broken. — Archbishop Desmond Tutu

People often confuse joy with happiness, but they are not interchangeable. Joy is from within, regardless of what is going on around you. Happiness can be a blurred emotion, dependent on a situation. Joyful people make a commitment to gratitude regardless of the circumstances. In Greek, the word for joy is ‘chara.’ This describes a feeling of inner gladness, delight or rejoicing. This inner gladness leads to a cheerful heart and a cheerful heart leads to cheerful behavior. The most important attribute of joy is that you can find joy in adversity. — Kelly Wise Valdes

Part of the problem with the word ‘disabilities’ is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can’t feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren’t able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities. — Fred Rogers

We create most of our suffering, so it should be logical that we also have the ability to create more joy. It simply depends on the attitudes, the perspectives, and the reactions we bring to situations and to our relationships with other people. When it comes to personal happiness there is a lot that we as individuals can do. — Dalai Lama

The Third Sunday of Advent is … the day to light the pink candle. It is not without reason that this Sunday is called Gaudete Sunday, a Sunday when the readings, the music, the church decorations, and even the pink candle are supposed to be gaudy. It’s supposed to be a party, a day of joy … If only we could.Are we even allowed to light the pink candle and be gaudy … when we have endured…accounts of violence worldwide… horrors … immediately … politicized…  We are not joyful. We are not even pretending to be. We have had enough … But what do we say—indeed, what can we say? …
      …. Does John give the … sermon … that God weeps with the wretched of the earth but really has nothing better to do than to cry with you as you are terrorized? In the midst of such colonization, terror, and violence, John’s answer is a call to radical hospitality … John says, we open our doors wider.
These acts of joy run counter to our feelings of horror, despair, anger, and rage … He is coming, John says, but as we look forward to his return, he isn’t back yet. So yes, we should grieve at this present darkness. … Yes, we should have no words to say to explain the horror.  Yes, do be angry, rage at the senselessness. But as the people of God, in our sorrow and in our anger, in our disbelief at the level of injustice … we also defy … we declare with our actions that this is indeed a time to act, but with the radical acts of hospitality, to let our rejoicing not be empty words, but shocking deeds of expansive welcome to the stranger, solidarity with the hungry and the naked … we rejoice defiantly by flinging open our hearts and our doors to welcome the stranger and love our neighbour. — Chinglican at Table

Sukkot Reflection – Part 2 – Joy as a spiritual practice

We’re actually commanded to be happy during Sukkot. Commanded? While joy is an emotion, it’s also a spiritual practice. So practice. For a week, the choice is joy … the practice of joy. —

In 2022, Sukkot begins at sundown on Sunday, Oct. 9 and ends at sundown on Sunday, Oct. 16. —

A careful reading of the Torah portion reveals that what is asked for is not to constantly feel joy, but to regularly do joy. To do what brings joy to us and others – gathering with family and friends; celebrating with community, and sharing with those who are vulnerable or in need – will bring feelings of joy as a result. While we can’t reasonably be commanded to feel joyous under all circumstances, we can be commanded to do what brings joy, just as we are commanded to do what brings on holiness, honesty, justice, mercy, or any other quality of being that our Judaism values. — Rabbi Jack A. Luxemburg,


SUKKOT 101 by Legos (info video):

Recipes for Sukkot: Traditional Ashkenazic Sukkot Recipes / Celebrate the Jewish fall harvest

Giora Shimoni

Sukkot Dinner

  • Gefilte Fish — This classic recipe for homemade gefilte fish is an Ashkenazi menu fixture not just for Sukkot, but also for Shabbat and other holidays like Passover. Whitefish, along with vegetables, herbs, eggs, and seasonings are ground and blended together and formed into small loaves or balls. The gefilte fish is then boiled in a flavorful broth and chilled.
  • Chicken Matzo Ball Soup — Since Sukkot is celebrated in the fall, there’s often a nip in the air. Soups like this one are the perfect way to keep guests comfortable while dining al fresco in the sukkah. This soup begins with a whole chicken and includes lots of vegetables. The matzo balls are made from scratch, but you can use a mix if you like.
  • Meat Stuffed Peppers — Stuffed foods are a traditional addition to Sukkot menus, so these peppers are a natural fit. You can use ground beef or turkey according to your preference, or if you’ll be hosting vegetarian guests, consider replacing the meat with a ground beef substitute, cheese, or beans. 
  • Roast Chicken With Vegetables — This traditional Shabbat entree is perfect for Sukkot since you can surround the chicken with vegetables that are at their peak. Use a whole chicken or chicken parts to eliminate the need for carving. 
  • Sweet Potato Kugel — Sweet potatoes are prevalent fall produce and make for family-friendly side dishes. This potato kugel combines sweet and Yukon Gold potatoes in a dairy-free recipe filled with apples and carrots with a hint of lemon and cinnamon.
  • Fruit Compote — This simple dessert features stewed apricots, plums, and raisins and makes a nice alternative (or complement) to heavier sweets. The dried fruit is simmered and then combined with sugar, lemon rind, cloves, and allspice and cooked until a thick syrup develops.
  • Classic Kosher Apple Cake — Apples seem only fitting at the Sukkot table, and not just because fall is apple season but also since Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is roughly two weeks before Sukkot. A symbol of a “sweet new year” is the apple, and one of the most traditional desserts is the Jewish Apple Cake. This recipe features layers of cinnamon apples in the batter that bakes into a beautiful tube or Bundt cake.

Sukkot Lunch Meal

  • Pomegranate Apple Salad With Poppy Seed Dressing — Fall fruits shine in this simple but beautiful seasonal salad of apples and pomegranates. The tangy homemade poppy seed dressing featuring mustard and onion is the ideal foil for the sweet fruits.
  • Butternut Squash and Leek Lasagna  — This vegetarian lasagna calls for roasting the butternut squash, which brings out its nutty flavor. When layered with a leek bechamel (white sauce) in between noodles, you’ve got a delicious lasagna the whole family will enjoy.
  • Oven-Fried Breaded Chicken — This kid-friendly recipe is quick and easy, and delicious eaten warm, room temp, or even cold, making it a great make-ahead dish. These breaded chicken strips are also egg-free, perfect for anyone with an allergy.
  • Tzimmes With Honey — Tzimmes is a mixture of fruits and vegetables that is cooked slowly until soft and tender. In this recipe, roasted carrots, sweet potatoes, and prunes combine with the flavors of orange, honey, and cinnamon, perfectly showcasing the flavors of fall.
  • Classic Potato Kugel — Sometimes called potato pudding, this Eastern European Jewish dish is a staple at Shabbat and holiday tables, and a great warm side to serve in the sukkah. Grated potatoes and onions are mixed with eggs, oil, flour, and seasonings and baked in a casserole until golden brown and crispy on top. Delicious served with a dollop of sour cream.
  • Apple and Dried Cherry Crisp — Whether you went apple picking or grabbed some at the farmers market, this fruit crisp is a great way to showcase the quintessential fall fruit. And when combined with dried tart cherries, oats, cinnamon, ginger, maple syrup, and pecans, you have a dessert that is sweet and tart with warm spices and a wonderful crunch.

2017 CCAR Press from This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day

Dance one-thousand steps toward heaven.
Sing one-thousand hymns of praise.
Breathe one-thousand breaths of glory.

Climb one-thousand steps of courage.
Chant one-thousand hymns of hope.
Laugh one-thousand breaths of healing.

Walk one-thousand steps of power.
Hum one-thousand hymns of life.
Share one-thousand breaths of wonder.

Leap one-thousand steps toward beauty.
Cry one-thousand hymns of joy.
Feel one-thousand breaths of mystery.
Rejoice! Rejoice!

PERMEABLE —  Velveteen Rabbi

Today I’ll finish our sukkah
stacking old wildflowers
to hint at roof, twining tinsel
around the slats

all year we imagine
our houses are our houses
stable and comfortable
waterproof and familiar

but these seven days
remind us that permanence
is overrated, that our true home
is under the stars

change is always underway
nine short weeks remain
until you’ll leave the home
you probably think is forever

and enter our world
airy and unpredictable
where we won’t know what you need
even sometimes when you tell us

your first big leap of faith, kid:
into nothing you’ve ever known
into the fragile sukkah
we’ve decorated just for you

LET JOY — Alden Solovy

Let joy spread across your face,
Flash from your eyes,
Beam from your lips.

Let joy quiet your heart,
Sooth your lungs,
Relieve your chest.

Let joy flow through your bones,
Awaken your nerves,
Caress your flesh.

For joy is in the dawn and the dusk,
The silence and the great expanse,
The flow of light from G-d’s grace,
Divine wonder and awe,
Calling out to you dear sisters and brothers:
‘Awake you slumberers!
Awake you who sleepwalk through hours and days,
Blind to hope and love.
Have you forgotten Sarah’s laugh and Miriam’s song?
Have you forsaken Jacob’s dreams and Ezekiel’s visions?’
Have you succumbed to fear and shame?

This, then, is G-d’s command:
Let joy hold you,
Carry you,
Burst forth from your words and deeds.
Let joy take you from season to season.
Dance and sing,
Celebrate and rejoice,
Lifting your life with exultation.
Let joy be your light and your lamp.

Blessed are You, G-d of joy.

FOR JOY (when grieving)
— Alden Solovy

Listen with your eyes
And hear with your heart:
In every grief, there is blessing…
In every joy, there is hope…
In every love, thanksgiving…
In every thought, wisdom…
In every breath, renewal…
In every moment, a choice,
To stay bent in sorrow,
Or to lift ourselves in songs of praise
To G-d Most High.
To dance with Miriam.
To dream with Jacob.
To laugh with Sarah.
To greet angels with Abraham.
To argue with heaven on behalf of earth.

G-d of the seen and unseen,
Creator of light and darkness
Author of justice and mercy,
Give us the courage and strength to choose a life of service,
Guided by Your loving hand.
A life of song and dance,
Gentleness and peace,
Honor and grace,
Kindness and understanding.

Blessed are You, Adonai our G-d, You love joy and service.
.בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’ אֱלֹקֵינוּ, אוֹהֵב שִׂמְחָה וְשָׂמֵחַ בְּתִקּוּן הָעוֹלָם
Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu, oheiv simchah v’samei’ach b’tikun ha’olam.

Sukkot: Sunday, Oct. 9 and ends at sundown on Sunday, Oct. 16 – Reflections – Part 1

Sukkot comes at a difficult time for us, our communities, and the world. It is unimaginable that anyone could be happy all the time with what is going on around us, let alone be joyous “on command”. Sukkot, with its encouragement to do what brings joy — even if the harvest is not as full as we would wish, even if life is not as abundant as we would want – brings the message we need. — Rabbi Jack A. Luxemburg

In 2022, Sukkot begins at sundown on Sunday, Oct. 9 and ends at sundown on Sunday, Oct. 16. The conclusion of Sukkot marks the beginning of the separate holidays of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah.

What is Sukkot? Sukkot is known as the “Festival of Tabernacles” and the “Feast of Booths.” It is one of Judaism’s three central pilgrimage festivals, along with Passover and Shavuot. In the times of the Temple, Sukkot was also the time of a water-drawing ceremony, a wonderfully joyous and upbeat celebration.—


How is sukkot connected to Christian traditions?
full artiicle:

Water Ceremony
— hebrewrootsmom

In Jesus’s time, there were two practices performed annually at the Temple during Sukkot. 

One was a water ceremony, in which the priest would lead everyone to the pool of Siloam, fill a golden pitcher and pour it out as a type of sacrifice, in the courtyard of the Temple.  People would then wave their palm branches (lulavot – more on this below) and shout “Save now, I pray, oh LORD; oh LORD, I pray, send now prosperity”.  Jesus was in Jerusalem on Sukkot, fulfilling the command to celebrate this feast there (John 7:2).  To an audience very familiar with this ceremony, Jesus chose Sukkot to foretell the pouring out of the water – the Spirit – on those who follow!

Palm Branches – Hoshanah – Save Us
— hebrewrootsmom
In the other ceremony at the Temple during Sukkot, the people would wave the lulav (palm branch) and have a procession around the temple, shouting “Hosannah” or “Please save us”.  Sound familiar?  We’ve all heard of when Jesus was on his way into Jerusalem before Passover during the week of his crucifixion and the people did this. 

The Season of Building — Alden Solovy

This is the season of building:
Of building tents of holiness,
Shelters of peace
In our land and in our hearts.

This is the season of rejoicing:
Of rejoicing in God’s bounty and grace,
In the radiance and splendor
In heaven and on earth.

This is the season of thanksgiving:
Of giving thanks for the gifts of the land,
For gifts yet to come
As we delight in the wonders of creation.

This is the season of building …

— prayer for rain in the Ashkenasic rite by Eleazar Kallir, translated by Ismar Schorsch

Remember Abraham drawn to You like water.
You blessed him like a tree by streams of water.
You sheltered and saved him from fire and water.
You loved him for his children who would drink of righteousness like water.
      For his sake do not deny us water.

Remember Isaac whose birth was announced over a bit of water.
You instructed his father to spill his blood like water.
He too instructed him to pour out his heart like water.
Later he dug for and found wells of water.
      For his righteousness, grace us with ample water.

Remember Jacob with staff in hand crossing Jordan’s water.
Alone he rolled the stone from the well of water.
When he wrestled with an angel of fire and water, 
You promised to be with him in fire and water.
      For his sake, do not deny us water.

Remember Moses in his caulked wicker basket drawn from the water.
The daughters of Jethro reported: he provided our sheep with water.
When your treasured people thirsted for water, 
He struck the rock to produce water.
      For his righteousness, grace us with ample water.

Remember the High Priest who on Yom Kippur immersed five times in water.
Who purified his hands and feet with holy water,
Reading from Scripture cleansed by water,
At a remove from the masses unstable like water.
      For his sake, do not deny me water.

Remember the twelve tribes You brought through the split water.
You sweetened for them in the wilderness bitter water.
For You, the blood of their descendants has flowed like water.
Turn to us because we are about to go under in water.
      For their righteousness, grace us with ample water.

SUKKOT Commentary (Info & Reflections)

A careful reading of the Torah portion reveals that what is asked for is not to constantly feel joy, but to regularly do joy. To do what brings joy to us and others – gathering with family and friends; celebrating with community, and sharing with those who are vulnerable or in need – will bring feelings of joy as a result. While we can’t reasonably be commanded to feel joyous under all circumstances, we can be commanded to do what brings joy, just as we are commanded to do what brings on holiness, honesty, justice, mercy, or any other quality of being that our Judaism values. — Rabbi Jack A. Luxemburg, full article:

The joy of Sukkot is offset by a pervasive concern about water. As we give thanks for the harvest just completed, we begin to worry about the bounty of the next one… Despite two millennia of exile, the Jewish calendar is still inextricably linked to the seasons of the year in the ancient homeland. If the historical justifications of the three pilgrimage festivals all relate to the exodus and wilderness experience, their agricultural basis continues to reflect the climatic conditions of Israel itself.— Ismar Schorsch, fulll article:

Sukkot, a harvest holiday, is deeply connected to the earth and heaven … It has always bewildered me that it had no mark on Christianity because, especially today with rising awareness to the environment, it has so much [spiritual] potential].— Piet van Veldhuizen

Sukkot is a joyful holiday and justifiably referred to as zeman simchateynu, the “season of our joy.” —

On the Shabbat during Sukkot, we are reminded of the age-old desire to know God. Moses implores God to let him see God. While God will not allow Moses to see God’s face, God tells Moses, “I will make My goodness pass before you…” Perhaps we experience the divine presence through the goodness we create in the world. The Torah then sets forth the thirteen attributes of God, among them that God is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in kindness. By emulating these very attributes, we create the goodness which allows us to know God. —

… This harvest festival is named for the temporary dwellings, called Sukkot, decorated with fruit and vegetables, set up to recall the booths in which the Jews lived during their journey from Egypt. The holiday is marked by processions with the lulav (palm branch with myrtle and willow) and etrog (citron). —

Sukkot is the last feast listed in Leviticus 23.  Just 5 days after the very somber Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, it’s the most joyful of the biblical Holy Days. Part of its biblical command is that we’re supposed to “rejoice before the LORD”.  … The 15th day of the month of Tishrei on the Jewish calendar is when Sukkot starts, and it continues until Tisrei 22.  On our Gregorian calendar, this is in September or October.  Here’s a calendar of the dates of the Holy Days for reference.— hebrewrootsmom

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Arava — Literally “willow,” one of the four species.

Arba minim — Literally “four species,” a quartet of plants used in Sukkot rituals: lulav,, hadas, and aravah. They symbolize joy for life and dedication to God. The four species are held and shaken during the Hallel service.

Etrog — Literally “citron,” one of the four species.

Geshem — Literally “rain,” additional prayer for rain read on Shemini Atzeret in the fall, introduced in the poetic form of an alphabetic acrostic.Hadas —Literally “myrtle,” one of the four species.

Hakafah — Literally “circuit,” a celebratory processional  around the room done on Sukkot and Simchat . On Sukkot hakafot (the Hebrew plural of hakafah) are done holding the four species, except on

. On Shemini Atzeret the hakafot are done while singing, dancing, and carrying Torahs.

Hallel — Literally “praise” this short service is a collection of Psalms and blessings recited on festivals and Rosh Hodesh (the new moon) as a display of joy and gratitude.

Hatan/Kallat Bereishit — Literally “Groom/Bride of Genesis,” this is a designation of honor for the person who is called up to the very first aliyah of the Book of Genesis on the morning of Simchat Torah.

Hatan/Kallat Torah — Literally “Groom/Bride of the Torah” this is a designation of honor for the person who is called up to the very last

of the Book of Deuteronomy on the morning of Simchat Torah.

Hol Hamoed — Literally “the mundane of the festival,” the intermediary days falling between the most sacred days of the festivals of Sukkot and Passover. These days have fewer prohibitions and commandments associated with them than the first and last days of the festivals.

Hoshanah Rabbah — Literally, “the Great Call for Help,” the seventh day of Sukkot during which hakafot are made and Hoshanot are recited. According to one tradition, it is the very last day for God to seal a judgment.

Hoshanot — Prayers of salvation that are chanted on Hoshanah Rabbah while holding the four species. At the end of the hakafot, each person takes a bundle of willow twigs and strikes it on the ground for symbolic purposes. Each prayer begins with the word hoshanah, which means, “Save, I pray.”

Kohelet —The Book of Ecclesiastes, a collection of wisdom, traditionally attributed to King Solomon. It is one of the five books from the part of the Bible called the Writings (Ketuvim) and is read on the intermediary Shabbat of Sukkot.

Lulav — Literally “palm branch,” one of the four species. It is also the name given to the general bundle of willow, myrtle, and palm branches.

Pitom — Literally “protuberance,” the bulging tip at the blossom end of the etrog. If it falls off naturally, the etrog is considered to be kosher. If it has been knocked off, the fruit is considered to have a blemish and thus be unfit for ritual use as one of the four species.

Shalosh Regalim — Literally “three legs,” the three major festivals of Passover, and Sukkot. On these occasions during biblical times Jews went on pilgrimages to Jerusalem to make special offerings at the Temple.

Shemini Atzeret — Literally “the Eighth Day of Gathering,” the eighth day of Sukkot, which holds special significance as its own holiday. Jews thank God for the harvest and ask for winter rain to prepare the ground for spring planting.

Simchat Torah — Literally “rejoicing in the Torah,” the holiday that celebrates both the end and renewal of the annual cycle of reading the Torah. Typically, the congregation takes the Torah scrolls from the

and parades with them in circles (hakafot) around the perimeter of the sanctuary.

Skhakh — Literally “covering,” the roofing of the

, which is made from natural materials such as bamboo or palm branches.

Sukkah — Literally “hut” or “booth,” a temporary structure that is built in order to be dwelt in for the duration of the holiday of Sukkot. Its purpose is to commemorate the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt and to make a symbolic gesture that acknowledges humankind’s reliance upon God. The construction of a sukkah follows a set of specific regulations.

Ushpizin — Literally “guests,” the biblical guests that the Zohar teaches are to be invited into the sukkah (along with the poor) during each night of Sukkot. Traditionally these seven guests are Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and David. Today many people add the names of women to the list.

Zman Simchateinu — Literally “the time of our rejoicing,” an expression often used when referring to the days of Sukkot.

— / full article:


Zachariah 14:1-21.

The prophet Zachariah prophesies about the world transformation that will occur in the end of days, when “the L-rd shall become King over all the earth; on that day shall the L-rd be one, and His name one.”

But first he describes a great war that will center around Jerusalem immediately before the ultimate Redemption. G‑d will gather the nations for war, and He will do battle with them, by visiting various diseases and ailments upon them. Zachariah then notes that those of the nations who will survive this cataclysmic war will be required to go to Jerusalem every year on the holiday of Sukkot to pay homage to G‑d.DAY TWO

I Kings 8:2-21.

Today’s haftorah describes the dedication of Solomon’s Temple, which occurred during the holiday of Sukkot. (The celebration of the completion of the Holy Temple began a few days earlier, on the 8th of Tishrei.)

The construction of the Holy Temple was completed. King Solomon assembled the leaders and elders of the tribes to Jerusalem, and amidst great fanfare the Levites transported the Ark from its temporary location in the City of David and installed it in the Holy of Holies chamber in the Holy Temple. Immediately, G‑d’s presence appeared in the Temple, in the form of a smoky cloud.

King Solomon then blessed G‑d. He recalled the history of the sanctuary, how his father, King David, had wanted to build it—but was told by G‑d that it would be his son who would accomplish this feat. “And the L-rd has established His word that He spoke, and I have risen up in the place of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the L-rd spoke, and have built a house for the name of the L-rd, the G‑d of Israel. And I have set there a place for the ark, wherein (is) the covenant of the Lord, which He made with our fathers, when He brought them out of the land of Egypt.”

CHOL HAMOED (in between days) – Readings in a Nutshell:
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On the five intermediate days of Sukkot we read Numbers 29:17-34, a portion which describes the communal offerings brought on each day of the holiday. Thirteen bullocks are brought on the first day, twelve on the second, eleven on the third, and so on in descending order until the seventh day, when seven bullocks are offered, bringing the total of bullocks over the seven days of the festival to seventy. Two rams and fourteen goats were also offered each day.

Additional offerings of the prescribed meal, wine and oil supplements were brought as well: three tenths of an efah of fine flour, and half a hin each of wine and oil, per bullock; two tenths of flour and a third of a hin of each of the liquids for each ram; and one tenth and one quarter respectively for each lamb.On the first day of Chol Hamoed (the third day of the holiday) we read:

  • First Aliyah—”The Second Day” section.
  • Second Aliyah—”The Third Day” section.
  • Third Aliyah—”The Fourth Day: section.
  • Fourth Aliyah—(we repeat) “The Second Day” and “The Third Day” section.

On the second day of Chol Hamoed (the fourth day of the holiday) we read:

  • First Aliyah—”The Third Day” section.
  • Second Aliyah—”The Fourth Day” section.
  • Third Aliyah—”The Fifth Day: section.
  • Fourth Aliyah—(we repeat) “The Third Day” and “The Fourth Day” section.

On the third day of Chol Hamoed (the fifth day of the holiday) we read:

  • First Aliyah—”The Fourth Day” section.
  • Second Aliyah—”The Fifth Day” section.
  • Third Aliyah—”The Sixth Day: section.
  • Fourth Aliyah—(we repeat) “The Fourth Day” and “The Fifth Day” section.

On the fourth day of Chol Hamoed (the sixth day of the holiday) we read:

  • First Aliyah—”The Fifth Day” section.
  • Second Aliyah—”The Sixth Day” section.
  • Third Aliyah—”The Seventh Day: section.
  • Fourth Aliyah—(we repeat) “The Fifth Day” and “The Sixth Day” section.

On the fifth day of Chol Hamoed (Hoshana Rabbah) we read:

  • First Aliyah—”The Fifth Day” section.
  • Second Aliyah—”The Sixth Day” section.
  • Third Aliyah—”The Seventh Day: section.
  • Fourth Aliyah—(we repeat) “The Sixth Day” and “The Seventh Day” section.
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