Latest update: October 11th, 2013
The Chazzan, and the congregation after him, says “Shema Yisrael” aloud. This is followed by “Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuso” aloud three times (by the Chazzan and then the congregation) and finally “Hashem Hu HaElokim” aloud seven times (by the Chazzan and then the congregation).
The Chazzan recites Kaddish Tiskabbel until “De’amiran be’alma ve’imru Amen,” and the shofar is blown. Kaddish is then concluded.
Weekday Maariv: We add Ata Chonantanu. At the conclusion of Maariv, Kaddish Tiskabbel, then Kaddish Yasom, LeDavid Hashem Ori and Kaddish Yasom.
If the sky is clear, we recite Kiddush Levana.
Following Havdala (even though it is also Motzaei Shabbos,it is still customary to light the havdala from a pre-existing flame- Mateh Efraim) at home and breaking our fast (the fast ends N.Y.C. 7:52 p.m. E.D.T.), we start with the construction of the sukkah.
Since Tachanun would not be said on most of the days of this month, we do not resume saying Tachanun until the 2nd day of Cheshvan.
Wednesday, erev Sukkos: Aside from our erev Yom Tov preparations, we have to make sure that the sukkah we will use is finished and ready to accommodate us for fulfilling the mitzvah of eating and sleeping in the sukkah. This is also the last opportunity to acquire the Four Species: esrog, lulav, hadassim and aravos. These should preferably be of exceptional quality–mehudarim–but have to satisfy, at the very least, the minimum requirements qualifying them as kosher to fulfill the mitzvah (see Orach Chayyim 645-650, Hilchot Lulav).
Since Shabbos immediately follows the 2 days of Yom Tov, we prepare an Eruv Tavshilin (2 cooked foods – usually an egg and a challah or matza) which we put aside to be eaten on Shabbos. This allows us to cook and bake food on the second day of Yom Tov for Shabbos.
We light candles at 6:41 p.m. NYC E.D.T., that is, 18 minutes before shekiah (sunset), and recite Lehadlik ner shel Yom Tov as well as Shehecheyanu.
Mincha: Usual weekday tefilla. Maariv: Usual service for Yom Tov, as found in the Machzor. The Shemoneh Esreh is that of Shalosh Regalim. At the conclusion of the Shemoneh Esreh the Chazzan says Kaddish Tiskabbel, Aleinu, LeDavid Hashem Ori (Sefarad have said LeDavid Hashem Ori following Mincha) and their respective Mourner’s Kaddish recitations.
In congregations where it is the custom to recite Kiddush in the synagogue after Maariv, Kiddush can only be publicly recited in synagogue’s sukkah where available.
Eating in the sukkah: Upon returning home we do not tarry but go straight to the sukkah (lest it rain later on). We recite the appropriate Ushpizin (lit. guests’ invitation) to welcome to our sukkah the seven faithful shepherds of the people of Israel – Avraham, Yitzhak, Yaakov, Yosef, Moshe, Aharon and David Hamelech. On each of the seven days one of them is the guest of honor leading the others, starting with our Patriarch Avraham on the first night. We recite the Kiddush of Yom Tov. We say four berachos: Borei pri hagafen, Mekaddesh Yisrael ve’hazemanim, Leishev basukkah, and Shehecheyanu.
On the first night one is duty-bound to eat in the sukkah even if it involves tza’ar (pain). This does not apply on the other nights and days, when one who is extremely uncomfortable (due to rain, or extreme cold, etc.) is relieved of this obligation (see Orach Chayyim 640:4 and Rema ad loc., who qualifies this halacha; see also Rema 639:2 regarding sleeping in the sukkah).
If it rains on the first evening (and the rain is such that it is not likely to stop), we make Kiddush in the sukkah, we wash (for bread) and eat a kezayit (olive-size) piece of challah in the sukkah, and then return to the house to eat the rest of the meal. (Commenting on a discussion regarding how long one is required to wait for the rain to stop, the Mishna Berura, O.C. 639:5, notes that it is proper to wait no longer than until midnight.)
During the seven days of Sukkos we say Ya’aleh VeYavo and HaRachaman hu yakim lanu es sukkahs David hanofales in Birkas Hamazon. Each meal (or snack) requires the blessing of Leishev basukkah as well as the appropriate berachos for the various foods.
About the Author: Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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