Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Monday evening, the second night of Yom Tov: since we are not allowed to make any preparations from one day of Yom Tov to the other, we wait 45 minutes after Shekia (N.Y.C. E.D.T. time 7:07 p.m.) some wait 60 minutes  (N.Y.C. time: 7:22 p.m. E.D.T.) while others wait 72 minutes (N.Y.C. time: 8:34 p.m. E.D.T.) before we light candles and then we commence all preparations. When lighting candles we recite Lehadlik Ner Shel Yom Tov, and Shehecheyanu.

Maariv: usual tefilla of Yom Tov. We end Birchas Kerias Shema U’feros, etc. We say Vayedabber Moshe because of Yom Tov. The chazzan recites half Kaddish, then all say the silent Shemoneh Esreh. In the Shalosh Regalim text we refer to this Yom Tov as Yom HaShemini Chag HaAtzeres hazeh. Chazzan then recites Kaddish Tiskabbel.


It is customary before the saying of Ata Horeisa to “sell” this right for pledges to charity. The purchaser then honors individuals with the recitation of individual pesukim. Most congregations also sell all the other honors associated with Simchas Torah. The individual who has the last aliyah, before Chassan Torah, is called Chassan Kol Hane’arim with all the children joining him under the canopy. Following that we call the Chassan Torah who completes the year’s Torah reading. Finally it is the turn of the Chassan Bereishis, who will be honored with starting the year’s Torah reading. It is customary to sell the honors of Maftir and the three Hagbahos and gelilos. 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 of the Bimah– we circle seven times in joyous dance.

At the conclusion of Hakafos we return all but one Sefer Torah to the Ark. We call three aliyos and we read from “Vezos Haberacha” (Deuteronomy 31:1-26). (Some congregations call 5 aliyos.)

The Ba’al Keriah says half Kaddish. We return the Sefer Torah to the Ark and we conclude with Aleinu and mourners Kaddish. We no longer recite LeDavid Hashem Ori.

Kiddush is usual the Shalosh Regalim Kiddush, with reference to Shemini Atzeres.

We eat our festive seuda in the house, as the second day of this Yom Tov in the golah is considered like Shemini Atzeres in Eretz Yisrael – and this is not treated as a doubtful day (sefeka de’yoma).

Tuesday Morning: ShacharisShalosh Regalim tefilla – the Kohanim go up to the duchan during the chazzan’s repetition of the Shacharis Shemoneh Esreh. (The Levi’im, or where there are no Levi’im, the firstborn, wash the hands of the Kohanim before the chazzan reaches Retzeh.) We do not say Ve’se’arev, we do not say Ribbono Shel Olam and Yehi Ratzon. Chazzan and congregation now continue with whole Hallel. Chazzan concludes with Kaddish Tiskabbel.

Those who are so honored each read aloud a pasuk in Ata Horeisa – and then we remove the Sifrei Torah from the Ark. We then read in Parashas Vezos Haberacha (Deuteronomy 31:1-26). We divide the parasha into five aliyos, and we continuously to call people – repeating the keriah many times until all members of the congregation have been called.

We then call the person who was honored with Chassan Kol Hane’arim. He says the berachos with all the children under the canopy (or tallis), he is followed by the Chassan Torah who completes the year’s Torah reading (from Deuteronomy 31:27-34:12) to the end of Parashas Vezos Haberacha.

We call the Chassan Bereishis who reads from Parashas Bereishis (Genesis 1:1-2:3). Following the hagbaha and placing of the Sifrei Torah on the bima, ba’al keriah recites half Kaddish.

We finally call the Maftir who reads from Parashas Pinchas (Numbers 29:35-39; 30:1).

The Maftir then reads the Haftara (Joshua 1:1-18).

We say Ashrei and Sisu vesimchu besimchas Torah. Many add Hiskabtzu and Agil Ve’esmach.

We return the Sifrei Torah to the Ark and the chazzan recites half Kaddish.

Musaf: in both the silent Shemoneh Esreh and the chazzan’s repetition, the tefilla is that of Shalosh Regalim – all references again, are to Shemini Atzeres. There is no duchaning at Musaf, as we have already done so during Shacharis. Chazzan then concludes with Kaddish Tiskabbel. This is followed by Ein K’Elokeinu, Aleinu, Shir Shel Yom (some congregations add An’im Zemiros) and the respective Kaddish recitals.


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Rabbi Yaakov Klass is Rav of K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush; Torah Editor of The Jewish Press; and Presidium Chairman, Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim.