Thursday, October 01, 2015

Three For Sukkos

Why do those of Hasidic heritage say Hoshanas after hallel? My unscholarly bet is that this spot was chosen for its convenience then an after-the-fact kabalistic justification was created. Can you support or defeat this notion? (Let me help: if you can show that Spanish or Eastern Jews were saying Hoshanas after hallel first the convenience notion is defeated. Hasidim copied lots of presumably exotic seeming foreign customs as a way of rejecting European-style Judaism (in the same way that many American Jews all of a sudden adopted a Sefardi havara) This may have been one of those copied customs.)
If you want to understand the difference between Hasidic and Litvak shul styles look at how we do Nan'uim*.
Background first:
To its insiders, Hasidic shul style is considered warm, comfortable and homey, while outsiders tend to see it as sloppy and disorganized. Meanwhile, Hasidim say Litvak shul style is rigid and cool, while the actual Litvaks say that structure, order and attention to detail elevate the proceedings.
Now, how do we do Nan'uim?
Hasidim: At some invisible signal, everyone starts shaking their lulav. Everyone completes the ritual at different speeds. The words (Hodu...) are not heard.
Litvaks: The prayer leader goes first, with each word clearly articulated. When he's done, the people perform the ritual, all of them audibly chanting the words, and shaking the lulavs in unison. Everyone says Hodu and shakes the lulav forward at the same time, etc, etc.
* shaking lulav during hallel.

Why is "Om Ani Choma" the least loved Hoshana? We only say it when Sukkot starts on a Monday. When it starts on any of the three other possible days, we skip "Om". What is the reason?

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