It’s interesting to note that on Hoshana Raba we change a word in the reading of the Torah portion of the day. On the other days of Sukkos we say “kamishpot” (as prescribed/like the decree) but on Hoshana Raba we say “kamispotom (like their decrees), changing the meaning to the past tense because the deadline for teshuva is extended after Yom Kippur until Hoshana Raba.

On Shemini Atzeres we start saying the blessing, “…mashiv haruach u’morid hageshem.” If a person wants to do teshuva and return to the spiritual (mashiv haruach), then he needs to lower his focus and desire for physical things (morid hageshem).  Alternately, one can say to Hashem, “…mashiv haruach” – accept all of the ruach, the spirituality, we have given to you this month – and “morid hageshem” – send down all the gashmius, the physical things, that we need.

The word  אנעשוה hoshana can be split into two words: hosha nah אנ עשוה – help us on א-נ. אנ is Gematria 51 and Hoshana Raba is 51 days after Rosh Chodesh Elul. We ask Hashem to forgive us in the merit of the 51 days that we just spent in prayer, teshuva and joy.

Why is Hashem so bothered
if we do even a little sin?
A Yid is the apple of G-d’s eye.
A sin is like a grain of sand in the eye
…and tears remove the sand.

Rabbi Chaim Fogelman is a member of the OK Kosher Vaad HaKashrus.
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