Photo Credit: Jewish Press

We remove two Sifrei Torah from the Ark – we say the Thirteen Middos and Ribbono Shel Olam.

We call 5 aliyos in the first sefer Torah and we read in Parashas Re’eh, from a Aser Te’aser” (Devarim 14:22 – 16:17). We place the second scroll next to the first and the ba’al keriah recites half-Kaddish. We call the Maftir. We read from the second scroll in Parashas Pinchas (Bamidbar 29:35-39; 30:1).


The Maftir reads the Haftara – Va’yehi kechalos Shlomo (I Kings 8:54-66; 9:1).

It is customary in many congregations to schedule a Yizkor appeal, in accordance with the text of the Yizkor prayer, “In merit of my vowing to give charity on his/her behalf.”

We recite Yizkor and Av HaRachamim, followed by Ashrei. We return the Sifrei Torah to the Ark. The chazzan dons a kittel and says half-Kaddish in the Nusach of Yamim Nora’im.

Before we begin the silent Shemoneh Esreh, the gabbai calls out “Mashiv Haruach U’morid Hageshem” so that we will include this phrase in our silent Shemoneh Esreh as well. (Nusach Sefarad first begin saying Mashiv Haruach U’morid Hageshem” at Mincha – and the chazzan’s repetition at Mussaf serves as the reminder.)

In chazzan’s repetition he chants the Prayer for Rain in its special nusach. We pray for the blessing of rain in its proper season. At “Ve’se’arev” the kohanim ascend to the duchan. (The Levi’im, or where none are available, the firstborn,  have washed the priests’ hands). The congregation say Ribbono Shel Olam and Yehi Ratzon. The chazzan then recites Kaddish Tiskabbel.

Service concludes with Ein KeElokeinu, Aleinu, Shir shel Yom, and LeDavid Hashem Ori, (which Nusach Sefarad already said at Shacharis, following Hallel) and their respective Kaddish recitations. Some congregations conclude with An’im Zemiros followed by Mourner’s Kaddish.

Mincha: Ashrei, U’va LeTziyyon, half-Kaddish. All then say the silent Shemoneh Esreh (of Shalosh Regalim). We are careful to include Mashiv Haruach U’morid Hagashem in the beracha of Mechayyeh Hameisim. In case one forgot to include this phrase: If he realized it before he uttered the beracha of Ata Kadosh – he is to include it there and then. If, however, he already said Ata Kadosh, he repeats from the beginning of the Amidah. According to Rema (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayyim 114:9), in order not to say a blessing in vain, it is proper to repeat Mashiv Haruach U’morid Hageshem 90 times.

The Mishna Berura (ad loc.) explains: One says … Rav lehoshia, Mashiv Haruach U’morid Hageshem 90 times. He quotes the Chasam Sofer (Responsa Vol. I 9:20) as well, who opines that one repeats it 103 times, but he would repeat it only in the case one said it less than 90 times.

Thursday, the second night of Yom Tov – which we now commonly refer to as Simchas Torah (due to our joy at completing the yearly Torah reading cycle) – we are not allowed to make any preparations for Yom Tov before we light candles, (from an existing flame) 45 minutes after sunset, at 7:35 p.m. N.Y.C. E.D.T. (according to Piskei Rav Henkin, zt”l, the zeman is preferably 72 minutes after sunset, at 8:02 p.m. N.Y.C. E.D.T. or at the very least 60 minutes after sunset, at 7:50 p.m. N.Y.C. E.D.T.) and then we can commence all preparations. When lighting candles we recite Lehadlik ner shel Yom Tov and Shehecheyanu.

Maariv is usual tefilla of Yom Tov. We end the Kerias Shema prayer with U’feros… We say Va’yedabber Moshe. Chazzan recites half-Kaddish, then all say the silent Shemoneh Esreh. We refer to the Yom Tov in the Shalosh Regalim text as Yom Shemini Ha’atzeres. Following that the chazzan recites Kaddish Tiskabbel.

It is customary, before the recital of Ata Horeisa, to “sell” this right for pledges to charity. The purchaser then honors individuals with the recitation of individual pesukim in Ata Horeisa. Most congregations also sell all the other honors associated with Simchas Torah. It is customary to sell the honors of Maftir and the three Hagbahos and gelillos, and some sell the opening and closing of the Ark as well. With all the Sifrei Torah removed from the Ark, we now begin the Hakafos circling of the bimah – we go around it seven times in joyous dance.