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Shabbat Chol Chamoed Sukkot ~ 5773
On Shabbat Chol HaMoaed we take out two Torahs. We call seven people to the first Torah, reading from Parashat Ki Tisa and Shmot 33:12 through 34:26.
This story immediately follows the sin of the golden calf. Moshe now pleads on behalf of the People and G-d agrees to forgive the People. Moshe smashes the Luchot, destroys the Golden Calf, and admonishes the people. The 3,000 primary violators are killed by the avenging Levites.
Moshe asks for a greater knowledge and intimacy with G-d. G-d gives Moshe a glimpse of His Essence. Then G-d commands Moshe to cut a new set of tablets, upon which He will engrave the 10 Commandments as He had previously done with the first set.
We read the 13 Divine Attributes, which are followed by a summary of the “SHALOSH REGALIM” – The Three Pilgrimage Festivals. The portion ends with the prohibition of eating meat and milk mixtures.
MAFTIR Numbers 29:26 ~ page 698
This is a five verse presentation of the Mussaf sacrifice of the fifth day of Sukkot.
HAFTARAH Ezekiel 38:18—39:16 ~ page 979
Ezekiel describes a battle in the end of time when armies hostile to the Jewish people will attack and be thwarted by G-d. The defeat of what has become known as Gog Umagog, will result in the worldwide acknowledgment of the greatness of the G-d of Israel as the One G-d. There is a tradition that this war will occur on Sukkot, hence its choice as the haftarah.
Holiday Study Questions
1. How many arovot branches are used on a lulav and why? What about Hadasim? Why?
2. Can any myrtle branches or willow branches be used or are there specific species permissible?
3. Can an etrog from a grafted tree be used as one of the four species?
4. Can a non-Jew build the walls of the sukkah? Put up the schach? Can a child?
5. Can a hut or ‘chickee’ built for secular reasons but coincidently kosher, be used as a sukkah on the chag?