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Chapter 15: Simchas Torah
1. The name Simchas Torah:
It is customary to refer to the last day of Yom Tov as Simchas Torah. This is due to the rejoicing and festive alcoholic meals that is made in honor of the completion of the Torah.
It is a Mitzvah to rejoice on Simchas Torah, in all ways possible. It is the custom of the Jewish people – and hence it is Torah – to rejoice on Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah even more than at Simchas Beis Hashoeiva, and more than on a usual Yom-Tov.
Not to belittle any custom:
One is not to nullify any custom which has traditionally been done for the sake of expressing joy on Simchas Torah.
Joy of a Mitzvah and not of frivolity and aggression:
The Mitzvah to rejoice on Simchas Torah is to have a true joy of a Mitzvah and not the frivolous joy that some express. Those who use aggression to express their “joy” and hence push and hit people, are not fulfilling this Mitzvah of rejoicing and cause others to distance themselves from the true rejoicing of the Mitzvah.
Its joy surpasses that of the rest of Sukkos:
The joy of the Simchas Torah is a celebration of the G-dly revelation caused through the fulfillment of a custom of Jewry. The entire concept of Hakafos is a custom of the prophets and is not written of in the written Torah and was not received through oral tradition but was rather accustomed by the prophets. This is the celebration of the connection of the Jewish people and the Torah. It is the celebration of the Torah itself, above the oral and written aspects of the Torah. Therefore, the joy of Simchas Torah far surpasses that of the Simchas Beis Hashoeiva, and all Jews are able to participate in this joy.
Draws down the Makifim of Aba:
The Hakafos draw down the encompassing light of Chochmah of Atzilus and is even higher than the effect of the Nissuch Hamayim during Sukkos.
Dancing draws down all the blessings:
The Rebbe Rayatz stated in the name of his father, the Rebbe Rashab, that the forty-eight hours of Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah should be dearly cherished, for at each moment one can draw bucketsful and barrelsful of treasures both material and spiritual, and this is accomplished through dancing.
2. Eating and sleeping in the Sukkah on Simchas Torah:
On Simchas Torah, one does not eat or sleep in the Sukkah. Furthermore, it is even forbidden to eat/sleep in the Sukkah on Simchas Torah unless one makes some form of recognition that shows that the Sukkah no longer maintains its holiness and Mitzvah. For example, in Eretz Yisrael where Erev Simchas Torah is Hoshana Rabbah, one is to remove a 4×4 Tefach area of Sechach from the roofing to show that he is not intending to stay in it for the sake of the Mitzvah. In the Diaspora where Erev Simchas Torah is Shemini Atzeres, and one is thus unable to remove the Sechach due to Muktzah, one is required to enter into it pots and pans and the like to show that the Sukkah is invalid and its Mitzvah has completed. The above is only required on Simchas Torah, however, after Simchas Torah there is no need to make any recognition of the Sukkah’s invalidation and one may continue to eat and sleep in it if he chooses, [so long as he does not intend to do so for the Mitzvah]. [The above is only required if one plans to eat or sleep in the Sukkah on Simchas Torah, otherwise there is no need for any of these recognitions to be done.]
Removing furniture from the Sukkah: See Chapter 14 Halacha 12!
If one removed the furniture from the Sukkah, may he eat a meal in it even though the other forms of recognition were not done?
This matter requires further analysis.
Does it suffice to place non-Kosher Sechach over the Kosher Sechach as a Heker?
This matter is disputed amongst the Poskim. Some Poskim rule it is an invalid Heker, while other Poskim rule that it is a valid Heker.
May one eat and drink in the Sukkah on Erev Sukkos?
Yes. See Chapter 3 Halacha 1 in Q&A!
May the day meal of Simchas Torah take place in the Sukkah even if no recognition was made?
No. However, some Poskim rule that it is permitted to eat in the Sukkah on the afternoon of Simchas Torah even without a recognition, if one already ate one night meal and one day meal outside of the Sukkah on Simchas Torah.
3. Shehechiyanu by candle lighting:
The blessing of Shehechiyanu is recited during candle lighting of Simchas Torah.
4. The Maariv Davening:
The Maariv prayer includes the regular Yom Tov Maariv and Shemoneh Esrei which is then followed by Kaddish Shalem [and Aveilim now say Mishnayos and Kaddish Derabanon]. In Chabad Shul’s the custom is to now hold a Farbrengen. This is then followed by Ata Hareisa three times, Hakafos, and Aleinu.
5. Increasing lights in Shul:
One should increase the number of lights in the Shul in honor of the Sifrei Torah that are removed. [In previous times this was accomplished by lighting more candles. Nowadays, one is to arrange before Yom Tov for there to be more lights than usual in the Shul. Regarding placing a candle in the Aron-See Halacha 7 in Q&A!]
6. The Simchas Torah meal:
Festive meals: It is customary to hold festive meals [at night and by day] with alcohol [i.e. Seudas Mishteh] in honor of the completion of the Torah. [The holding of these festivities and festive meals is very important, as it shows our joy of the Torah and elevates its honor. Those who have nullified the accustomed tradition of holding these feasts are doing a grave sin, as they have festive meals for other occasions, but for the Torah they feel no need. This is a great belittlement of the Torah.]
Having a meal before Maariv of Simchas Torah: One is not to establish the drinking of alcohol prior to Marriv of Simchas Torah.
Kiddush: On the night of Simchas Torah, it is customary amongst Chabad for all men to say Kiddush to themselves, as the blessing of Shehechiyanu goes also on the Torah, which each person needs to fulfill himself.
Shehechiyanu: The blessing of Shehechiyanu is recited [during Kiddush or candle lighting] of Simchas Torah.
Not to dip the bread in honey: On Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah one does not dip the bread of Hamotzi in honey.
Drinking wine and alcohol: It is an obligation for men to drink [a Revius of] wine on Yom Tov due to the Mitzvah of Simcha and to establish the meal over wine due to the Mitzvah of Oneg. This means that he is to drink wine in middle of the meal. [It is customary amongst Yidden in general and Chassidim in particular to drink alcohol on Simchas Torah in order to enter one into the joyous spirit.]
Is it permitted for one to get drunk on Simchas Torah?
While the old age custom of Jewry was for men to increase in drinking alcohol on Simchas Torah, practically, based on directives of the Rebbe, and based on common sense and experience, this should only be done in a limited fashion, with those below the age of 40 making sure not to drink more than a Revius of alcohol and those above age 40, to limit their drinking to their capability of them still being able to act and behave appropriately, and those who know themselves to have a history of losing control of their hands and or mouth when they drink, must avoid drinking altogether on all days of the year, including Simchas Torah and even Purim, irrelevant of age. Upashut! Those minority of Chabad Chassidim who are below age 40 and get drunk are going against an explicit directive of our Rebbe which is binding on all Chabad Chassidim, even if they can control their alcohol. The Gabbaim of each shul should take guard of the alcohol, and not allow the great Simcha of Simchas Torah to become one of expression of people’s personal misgivings accompanied with Holelus, Leitzanus, vulgar speech, public indecency and of physical altercation, which is often traumatic for those who witness these events, especially the children.
Sources: See regarding the custom of drinking alcohol on Simchas Torah: Rama 669:1; M”B 669 Hakdama; Sefer Hasichos 5682 p. 28; 5702 p. 13; Otzer Minhagei Chabad p. 370; See regarding Nesias Kapayim: Levush 669; M”B 669:17; See regarding the decree of the Rebbe: Shemini 1963; Balak 1964; Shmini 1964; Yud Beis Tamuz 1965; Noach 1927; Naso 1968; Shavuos 1968; Dvarim 1980; 13th Nissan 1982; Ki Sisa 1984; Balak 1984; Mikeitz 1985; 12th Teves 1987; Vayakhel 1988; Ki Seitzei 1988; Hisvadyos 1991 Vol. 4 p. 298; See Otzer Minhagei Chabad ibid and Adar 211-214; Kuntrus of “Gezeiras Hamashkeh Bepurim” by Rav Nachmonson; See regarding Simchas Torah: Sichos Kodesh 1965 2 p. 241 “….and Simchas Torah”; Sichos Kodesh 1977 p. 687; See Hiskashrus 189; Heichal Menachem 3:258; Otzer ibid 214
Although generally it is forbidden to dance on Shabbos and Yom Tov, on Simchas Torah it is permitted to dance while singing praise for the Torah, as this is in honor of the Torah.
On the morning of Simchas Torah the Angels find shoes in Gan Eden code:
The Baal Shem Tov related to his students that the following occurs in heaven on the morning of Simchas Torah. It is a custom for the Angels to delay their prayer in heaven until the Jewish people say their prayer on earth. Now, on the day of Simchas Torah, the custom is for the Jewish people to begin prayers slightly later than usual. The Angels, who were frustrated with the delay, in the meantime help themselves to cleaning up the garden of Eden. While normally they are used to finding mitzvah items in Gan Eden, on this morning they find lots and lots of shoes. So, the Angels go to the angel Michael and ask him as to what this is all about and the angel Michael tells them that the shoes are the shoes that were used by the Jews for dancing with the Torah scrolls and the angel begins to count saying that these shoes over here come from the city of Kamnika and these shoes over here are from the city of Mezritch.
It is customary in these communities [i.e. Ashkenaz] to remove all the Sifrei Torah in the Heichal by both night, by Maariv, and day, by Shacharis, and sing song and praise. Each place is to do like their custom. The custom is to encircle the Bimah in the Shul, just as is done with the Lulav [during Hoshanos]. All this is done as a sign of joy. [One dances Hakafos on both days and nights with extreme joy. The Rebbe Rashab said that one draws down abundance of physical and spiritual blessing through the joy of dancing by Hakafos.]
How many Hakafos are done? Some communities are accustomed to performing three Hakafos. Other perform seven Hakafos like on Hoshana Rabbah. Practically, each place is to do in accordance with their custom. [The Chabad custom is to do seven full Hakafos during the night dancing while at the daytime of Simchas Torah three-and-a-half circuits are made, though the text for the Hakafos is read in its entirety.]
How many Torah scrolls are removed from the Ark: The custom is to remove all the scrolls from the Ark both by night and day as stated above.
Brich Shmei: Some are accustomed to reciting Brich Shmei when the Aron is opened for Hakafos. [This is not the Chabad practice.]
Auctioning the verses of Ata Horeisa: On the eve of Simchas Torah it is the custom in the Rebbe’s minyan to ‘sell’ [i.e., to ‘auction’ the privilege of leading the congregation in the responsive reading of] the verses of the passage that begins Ata Horeisa, and to honor the Rebbe Shlita with reading aloud the first and last verses and occasionally other verses too. The proceeds promised on the eve of Simchas Torah benefit the Tomchei Temimim Yeshivah, while the proceeds promised by day benefit Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch and Machane Israel.
Reading the Torah at night: On the night of Simchas Torah, it is customary to read the portion of Nedarim from the Torah Scroll. Each community is to follow their custom in this matter. [Practically, it is not the Chabad custom to read the Torah publicly on the night of Simchas Torah.]
Joining the Hakafos of other Shuls: Even after completing the Hakafos in one Shul, if one arrives to another Shul who has yet to complete the dancing, he is to join them in the dancing and rejoicing.
Bringing children to Shul:
One is to bring children, both male and female, for the sake of dancing by the Hakafos. The female children above age three are to be dressed modestly, as required.
Q&A on Hakafos
When was the custom of Hakafos initiated?
The custom of Hakafos was initiated by the prophets. It is not considered even a Rabbinical injunction, but rather a mere custom. [The intent of the above is not that the prophets instituted Hakafos, but that the custom of rejoicing with the Sefer Torah was derived from David Hamelech, who was a prophet, and removed the ark from its place and danced and sang in front of it. However, the actual custom of dancing in circles on Simchas Torah is a custom initiated by the Jewish people in later generations, unbeknownst to us the exact period. Alternatively, this custom was initiated by Moshe Rabbeinu, and he himself danced on Simchas Torah with the Sefer Torah.]
May an Avel dance during Hakafos?
Some Poskim rule it is forbidden for an Avel [within Shloshim, or within the first 12 months of mourning for a parent] to participate in the Hakafos on Simchas Torah. Other Poskim rule it is permitted for him to participate in the Hakafos. Practically, the Chabad custom is that a mourner is not to participate in the Hakafos alone, but rather with an escort. [He is to take hold of the Sefer Torah and have another person hold his arm while encircling the Bimah. Alternatively, another person takes hold of the Sefer Torah, and the Avel holds onto the Eitz Chaim while encircling.] According to all he may watch the Hakafos from the side. If he was offered to join the Hakafos, some write that he may not refuse due to the prohibition of showing public Aveilus.
Hakafos Sheniyos: A mourner may not participate in Hakafos Sheniyos in the event that music is playing. If no music is playing, he may participate with an escort, as stated above.
May Hakafos be done without a Minyan?
May one who was offered the Sefer Torah during Hakafos refuse it?
May women come into the men’s Shul to watch the Hakafos?
Many are accustomed to allowing the women to come into the mens Shul to watch the Hakafos.
May one sit during Hakafos?
In general, it is forbidden to sit when the Sefer Torah is taken out of the Aron until it is settled on the Bimah. However, many are accustomed to being lenient and sit. Practically, those who sit have upon whom to rely especially if they feel weak, however those who are meticulous remain standing throughout the time, unless they are holding a Sefer Torah. According to all, when the Sefer Torah is being returned to the ark, everyone is to stand.
Q&A on Sifrei Torah
In which hand is the Sefer Torah to be held?
It is to be held in one’s right hand throughout the Hakafos and dancing.
Is one to remove also the Pasul Sifrei Torah to dance for Hakafos?
The custom is to dance also with the Pasul Sifrei Torah, and they are not considered Muktzah in this regard. Nevertheless one may not deliberately leave a Pasul Sefer Torah in the Aron for this purpose, and hence a Sefer Torah which cannot be fixed is to be placed in Geniza. This is opposed to the general custom which allows leaving Pasul Sifrei Torah to use for Hakafos.
May one bring Sifrei Torah from other Shul’s for the sake of performing Hakafos?
One is not to bring Sifrei Torah from one Shul to another even if they do not have any Sifrei Torah, unless one fulfills the conditions required for moving a Sefer Torah throughout the year. However, some Poskim are lenient to permit doing so on Simchas Torah, especially if the other Shul will not have Minyan to dance with the Sefer Torah. Likewise, some Poskim are lenient to permit many Shuls to gather for Hakafos in one large Shul and to bring with them all their Sifrei Torah.
May one on Simchas Torah take the Sifrei Torah outside the Shul, to the street, to dance with?
Yes. This may especially be done if there is not enough space to dance with the Sefer Torah inside the Shul.
Placing a candle in the Aron:
Some are accustomed to place a candle in the Aron after removing the Sifrei Torah for Hakafos. Some Poskim, however, negate this custom, as it is forbidden to enter anything into an Aron other than Sifrei Torah.
Having a Sefer Torah remain held by the Bimah:
According to Kabbalah, a person is to remain holding a Sefer Torah by the Bimah while the rest of the congregation encircles it during the Hakafos.
The Yechidus-Hakafos of the Alter Rebbe:
The private Hakafos by the Alter Rebbe which took place prior to the public Hakafos was a most memorable occasion. Those who participated in it related that they felt in the illumination of their soul the like that they have never experienced in their entire lives. They felt in ecstasy they can only be compared to that of the Beis Hamikdash. The following is a description of one of these Chassidim who merited to participate in these Hakafos: While dancing we felt as if we were literally present in the Beis Hamikdash. We reached the highest levels of repentance and feeling of closeness to God at that time. This was no less than an experience of Ahava Betaanugim, the highest level of love. One Chassid related that after he merited participate in these Hakafos he became a totally new person. The pleasure experienced during these Hakafos was not that of a single limb but rather a pleasure that encompasses every limb of the body. Every Chassid who participated in these private Hakafos with the Alter Rebbe felt this bliss.
Dancing with all one’s might:
One is to dance before the Sefer Torah with all his might, as was done by Dovid Hamelech who danced and cheered and clapped and whistled before the Aron Habris. Even elderly men dance with all their might before the Torah, and so was the custom of the Gr”a, and all the Chabad Rabbeim. The Arizal states that he reached his great level of holiness specifically from his great rejoicing of a Mitzvah.
9. Resolve to spread Torah during Kerias Shema Al Hamita:
It is known to all that during the reading of Shema Yisrael said in Kerias Shema Sheal Hamita of Simchas Torah, one needs to accept upon himself the resolution of dedication towards spreading Torah knowledge in a way of Mesirus Nefesh of the body, soul, and spirit. This is to be his entire essence.
10. Marital relations:
Some Poskim imply that the above abstinence applies only to the first night of Shemini Atzeres, however intercourse is permitted on the second night, known as Simchas Torah, even in the Diaspora. Other Poskim, however, explicitly rule that in the Diaspora, intercourse is to be avoided on the night of Simchas Torah as well. [This applies even if it occurs on Shabbos.]
Night of Mikveh or other Onah: If the night of Mikveh occurs on Shemini Atzeres, one is to have marital relations. [The same applies to any other obligatory Onah, such as his wife desires him, or he returned home from travel on that day. One who refrains from doing so is considered as if he is performing a Mitzvah as the result of an Aveira.]
Strong desire: Those who feel a strong desire, which may prove difficult to withhold, are rather to have intercourse than come to do a sin, and it is even a Mitzvah to do so in such a case. [The same applies if one has a constant erection or has gotten the thoughts of women in his mind.]
Peru Urevu: Some Poskim rule that if one has yet to fulfill the Mitzvah of Peru Urevu, and his wife is able to conceive, then he may have intimacy on the above nights. From other Poskim, however, it is implied that even in such a case one is to be stringent.
A. General order:
The order of Shacharis follows a regular Yom Tov Davening until after Hallel. Kaddish Shalem is recited after Hallel. This is then followed by a Kiddush Farbrengen, which is then followed by Ata Horeisa.
Birchas Kohanim: On Simchas Torah it is customary for the Kohanim to recite Birchas Kohanim by Shacharis in place of Musaf. [The Birchas Kohanim by Shachris is done with the accustomed niggun sang by the Birchas Kohanim of Musaf of all Holidays.]
Having a Kiddush on Simchas Torah between Shacharis and Musaf:
It is customary to hold a Kiddush on Simchas Torah between Shacharis and Musaf, prior to the start of Hakafos.
Eating and drinking limitations: Although in general it is forbidden to eat more than a Kebeitza of Hamotzi, Mezonos, or alcohol, prior to Musaf, nevertheless, it is permitted for one who is by a communal Kiddush on Simchas Torah, or is at home but plans on joining the set community Minyan for Musaf, to drink wine, and other alcoholic beverages, as well as wash on Hamotzi and eat even more than a Kebeitza of bread or Mezonos during this meal. However, one who is Davening in private, may only eat a Kebeitza or more of bread or Mezonos or alcohol if he has a Shomer to remind him to Daven Musaf.
B. The day Hakafos:
During the day of Simchas Torah the custom is to only perform 3.5 circles around the Bimah as opposed to seven. Nevertheless all seven liturgy of Hakafos is read. Thus, one reads a single Hakafa for every half circle of the Bimah, for a total of seven half circles corresponding to the reading of the seven Hakafos. All 3.5 circles of Hakafos are performed consecutively without dancing in between or placing Sefer Torah back in Aron or even announcing “Ad Kan Hakafa…”. After the conclusion of the 3.5 circles the congregation dances. At the conclusion the Sefer Torah is returned to the Aron without saying anything.
On Simchas Torah one is to read the Chumash and Rashi of Vezos Habracha from that days Aliyah until the conclusion of the Parsha. One is likewise to read the Chumash and Rashi of Bereishis, from Rishon until that days Aliyah. Nevertheless, one is not heaven forbid to diminish from the rejoicing of Simchas Torah in order to read the section of Bereishis and one is rather only to do so on his free time when he is in any event not involved in the rejoicing of Simchas Torah. [Thus, one who is unable to complete the learning of Bereishis on Simchas Torah due to the rejoicing is to complete it then next day on Issru Chag.]
C. The Torah reading:
Ata Hareisa, Vayehi Binsoa and the thirteen Middos are recited prior to Kerias Hatorah, as is done on all Holidays. [See Chapter 11 Halacha 14C for the full details of this subject!]
The reading and Torah scrolls: Three Torah scrolls are removed from the ark. From the first Torah scroll one reads [six Aliyos] from Vezos Habracha until the end of the Torah. [According to Chabad custom, this applies even when Simchas Torah falls on Shabbos in Eretz Yisrael.] From the second Torah scroll one reads [a seventh Aliyah] from Bereishis until the words “Asher Bara Elokim Lasos.” From the third Torah scroll, the same Maftir as Shemini Atzeres is read, from “Ubayom Hashemini Atzeres.” For the Haftorah one reads from Yehoshua “Vayhei Acharei Mos Moshe.”
If only two scrolls are available: If the congregation only has two Torah scrolls, then Vezos Habracha is read from the first scroll, Bereishis is read from the second scroll, and the first Sefer Torah is returned and used for the reading of Maftir. [This however only applies if the first scroll is rolled to the third Parsha prior to its Hagbah. If, however, the first scroll was not rolled to the third Parsha prior to its Hagbah, then it is better to read the third Parsha from the second scroll.]
Each man gets an Aliyah: It is customary to increase in calling up people for Aliyos on Simchas Torah. [Practically, the custom is for every male to receive an Aliyah.] To facilitate this, the Parsha is repeated many times [until Meona Elokeiy Kedem which is the portion read for Chasan Torah and is not to be repeated]. There is no prohibition against doing so. [Alternatively, many people may be called up for the same Aliyah, and so is the Chabad custom, as explained in the Q&A!]
Kol Hanearim: It is a worldly custom that on Simchas Torah all the male children receive an Aliyah to the Torah. This Aliyah is customarily known as Kol Hanearim. [This Aliyah takes place by Chamishi, from the words Uledan Amar, until the portion of Meona Elokeiy Kedem which is the portion Chasan Torah. It is customary for many children to go up together. It is customary to spread a Tallis over the heads of the children during this Aliyah.] It is likewise customary to recite the Parsha of Hamalach Hagoel [after the conclusion of the reading]. [Practically, the Chabad custom is not to spread a Tallis over the heads of the children during the Aliyah of Kol Hanearim. Likewise, it is not customary to read the verses of Hamalach Hagoel. One is to have at least one adult above Bar Mitzvah called up together with the children for this Aliyah. The adult is to say the blessings out load and have all the children listen and be Yotzei, rather than have all the children say the blessing themselves. Nonetheless, some are accustomed to have all the children recite the blessings themselves. The Chabad custom is to have the adult Olah recite the blessing on behalf of all the children who do not know to say it themselves. Some are accustomed to bring their son with them for their personal Aliya rather than have the child go up for Kol Hanearim.]
Chasan Torah/Bereishis: It is customary for the Chasan Torah and Chasan Bereishis to donate towards the Shul and arrange for a communal feast to be held. It is customary to call up even a child for Chasan Torah, and it is not necessary to give the Aliyah specially to a Torah scholar, even though there are opinions who require this to be done. [It is not the Chabad custom to spread a Tallis as a canopy over the heads of the Chasan Torah or Chasan Bereishis when they are called to the public reading of the Torah.]
Reciting Chazak Chazak Venischazeik: The person who is called to the reading of the concluding passage of the Torah is to say the words chazak chazak venischazeik together with the rest of the congregation. The same applies at the conclusion of the other [four] Books of the Chumash.
Sisu Vesimcha: The prayer of Sisu Vesimcha is recited after the Maftir and Haftorah, prior to Yizkor.
On Shabbos Simchas Torah in Eretz Yisrael, is one to read seven Aliyos for Parshas Vezos Habracha?
On Shabbos Simchas Torah in Eretz Yisrael, it is not necessary to read all seven Aliyos from Parshas Vezos Habracha, as the Aliyah of Bereishis counts as the seventh Aliyah on Shabbos. Some Poskim, however, rule that seven Aliyos are to be read in Parshas Vezos Habracha, as is required on every Shabbos to read seven Aliyos from that Parsha. Practically, however, the widespread Chabad custom is not to do so, and rather to have the reading of Bereishis count as the seventh Aliyah.
May many people be called up for the same Aliyah?
The custom is to call up many individuals for a single Aliya, such as many Kohanim for the Aliya of Kohen, and many Levi’im for the Aliyah of Levi. Nonetheless, there are Poskim who question this custom. [The Chabad custom is to call many people for the same Aliyah.]
Should everyone say the blessing? It is best when having more than one person go up for the Aliya to have only one person say the blessing and all the others be Yotzei with him. However, some are accustomed to reciting the blessings themselves even in such a case. Practically, the Chabad custom is for everyone to say the blessing to themselves.
From which Torah scroll is Maftir read from if there are only two scrolls available?
In such a case Maftir is read from the first scroll.
On Simchas Torah may relatives be called up one after the other?
The custom is to be lenient in this matter to allow calling relatives for Chasan Torah and Chasan Bereishis, one after the other. [However, regarding the Aliyos in Vezos Habracha, seemingly one is to be stringent even on Simchas Torah not to call relatives one after the other. However, some Poskim write that the custom is to be lenient completely even regarding the other Aliyos.]
May a Kohen receive Revi’i, Chamishi, if they did not yet get an Aliya?
If there are many Kohanim and Levi’im present, they may be given the 4th or 5th Aliyah after the regular order of Kohen, Levi and Yisrael. In such a case it is proper to repeat the order of Kohen Levi Yisrael.
May a Kohen or Levi receive Chasan Torah or Chasan Bereishis?
Ben Chutz La’aretz in Eretz Yisrael:
A Ben Chutz La’aretz in Eretz Yisrael, may receive any Aliyah on Simchas Torah. However, a Ben Eretz Yisrael who is in the Diaspora and is only keeping one day of Yom Tov, may not receive an Aliyah on Simchas Torah. [However, he may receive an Aliyah by Kol Hanearim, and be Yotzei the blessing with one of the adults.]
Many on are accustomed on Simchas Torah to perform Hagbah backwards, with the writing facing the people. Practically, this is not the Chabad custom.
May an Avel prior to Shiva receive an Aliyah during Simchas Torah?
An Avel prior to Shiva may receive an Aliyah during Simchas Torah. However, some write he is not to be called up as one of the 5 required Aliyos. Certainly, he is not to be called up for Chasan Torah, Chasan Bereishis, or Maftir. However, if he has a Chazaka to receive that Aliyah, then he may receive it due to it otherwise being public mourning, unless he lives in the Diaspora, in which case it is better to Daven in another Shul in such a case.
D. Musaf-Birchas Kohanim:
On Simchas Torah it is customary amongst many communities, including Chabad, for the Kohanim to recite Birchas Kohanim by Shacharis in place of Musaf. See A!
In the Diaspora, Yizkor is recited on Shemini Atzeres and not on Simchas Torah. See chapter 14 Halacha 7D.
12. Hakafos Sheniyos in Eretz Yisrael:
In Eretz Yisrael, the custom based on the Arizal, is to perform Hakafos Sheniyos with live music and dancing on their Motzei Simchas Torah, corresponding to the night of Simchas Torah in the Diaspora. The custom is to perform the regular order of seven Hakafos with the Sefer Torah, with Ata Horeisa being said three times. The Arizal would dance with all his might also by these Hakafos of Moztei Simchas Torah and was very careful to perform seven Hakafos as was done on the previous night. The Rebbe very much encouraged this custom and would send letters of blessing for the event.
 Rama 669:1; Tur 669
 Rama ibid; Tur ibid; Michaber ibid “Seder Yom Simchas Torah”
 Elya Raba 669; M”B 669:6
 Sefer Haminhagim p.
 Maharik Shoresh 9; M”B 669:5
 Elya Raba 669; M”B 669:6
 Siddur Im Dach p. 269
 Siddur Im Dach p. 269
 Sefer Haminhagim p. 68
 Michaber 666:1
 The reason: As otherwise it appears that one is adding an extra day to the Mitzvah which transgresses Baal Tosif. [Michaber ibid] Nonetheless, in truth one does not transgress Baal Tosif unless he actively intends to fulfill, the Mitzvah also on the 8th day. [M”A 666:2; Taz 666:1]
Does this law only apply if one does not have room at home: This ruling of the Michaber ibid was written regarding one who does not have anywhere to put the furniture in his Sukkah and is hence forced to eat there. Vetzaruch Iyun if one may simply choose to eat in the Sukkah, upon making a valid recognition, simply for purposes of leisure, even if he has room at home to remove the furniture, or he has a separate set of furniture at home.
 This applies even by a large Sukkah that one must only remove 4×4 Teafch worth of Sechach. [See P”M 666 A”A 1; Kaf Hachaim 666:5]
 Michaber ibid
 See Taz and M”A ibid
 Rama ibid
 From the Michaber ibid it is implied that it is permitted to do so, as removing the furniture is the first and initial recognition to be done. [See Kaf Hachaim 666:9 who learns from Michaber that the purpose of removing the furniture is to serve as a recognition.
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 666:1
 Bikureiy Yaakov 666:5; Ben Ish Chaiy Parshas Vezos Habracha 16
 Bigdei Yesha 666
 Setimas Haposkim
 Ben ish Chaiy Bracha 16
 Michaber 669:1
 The reason: As Shemini Atzeres is considered a separate festival than Sukkos, and the 9th day is a Safek as to if it is in truth the 8th day. [Kaf Hachaim 669:1]
 Elya Raba 669; M”B 669:4
 Rama 669:1
 See M”B 669 in Hakdama that some communities would make a festive meal before Maariv
 Bikurei Yaakov 669; M”B 669:5
 M”B 669 Hakdama
 The reason: As a) It will make him drunk. b) It is forbidden to eat prior to reciting Kerias Shema and c) One is required to make Kiddush when it turns dark. [M”B ibid]
 Sefer Hasichos 5704 p. 32; 5697 p. 16; Otzer Minhagei Chabad Tishrei p. 368
 Michaber 669:1
 The reason: As Shemini Atzeres is considered a separate festival than Sukkos  and the second day of Yom Tov is Sfeika Deyoma of which we always recite Shehechiyanu. [Admur 600:5 regarding all Yomim Tovim; 473:2 regarding Pesach] The reason for this is because the entire reason of keeping two days in the Diaspora is because of the doubt of their ancestors as to (on which day the month was sanctified and consequently as to) which day is Yom Tov. Now, the ancestors always said Shehechiyanu also on the second day as perhaps the second day is Yom Tov and the previous day was a weekday and hence it was not exempt with the blessing of Shehechiyanu said yesterday. [Admur 600:5]
 Sefer Haminhagim p. 147 [English] based on Mamarim Haketzarim of Admur Hazakein p. 454
 Admur 529:3-4 regarding Oneg; 529:7 regarding Simcha
The ruling in 242:1 and KU”A 2: There Admur mentions plainly that eating and drinking such as wine and meat is part of the Biblical Mitzvah of Simcha. Vetzaruch Iyun as there it implies a) meat is also a Biblical Mitzvah b) Everyone fulfills the Mitzvah through eating and drinking.
 See Q&A!
 Sefer Hasichos 5682 p. 28; 5702 p. 13; See Otzer Minhagei Chabad p. 370; M”B 669 Hakdama; See regarding Nesias Kapayim: Levush 669; M”B 669:17
 Admur 339:2; M”A 669:1 in name of Darkei Moshe and Mahrik; M”B 339:8; 669:5
 Keser Shem Tov Hosafos 114
 Rama 669:1; Siddur Admur “And so too on the night of Simchas Torah, and some are accustomed also by the day of Simchas Torah.”
 Rama ibid; Siddur Admur
 M”B 669:10 in name of Achronim
 Siddur Admur; Peri Eitz Chaim Shaar Halulav 8; Kaf Hachaim 669:29
 Sefer Haminhagim p. 146 [English edition]; Siddur Admur writes to perform seven Hakafos, although leaves the day Hakafos as optional and a custom of some
 Rama ibid; Siddur Admur
 Shaar Rachamim on Shaar Efraim 10; Piskeiy Teshuvos 669:1
 Sefer Haminhagim p. 69
 Rama ibid
 Hayom Yom 23rd Tishrei; Sefer Haminhagim p. 148 [English edition]
 Siddur Admur; Peri Eitz Chaim Shaar Halulav 8
 Shaarei Rachamim 8:26; Piskeiy Teshuvos 669:1
 Siddur Im Dach p. 269; See also Likkutei Torah 2nd “Ushiavtem Mayim” “It is a mere custom”
 Letter printed in Likkutei Sichos 29:505; See there that perhaps a) The word “prophets” is a printing error; b) Even if not a printing error, it is not to be taken literally, and does not mean to say that dancing in a circle around the Bima on Shemini Atzeres is a custom of the prophets, but rather in general that the concept of celebrating with the Torah is derived from the prophets.
 Hisvadyus 1984 2:1082; See the Pizmon of Sisu Visimchu that is recited after Kerias Hatorah in which we state that Mosher rejoiced on Simchas Torah, and it should be accepted literally, as a) Mosher Rabbeinu established the reading of the Torah during the weeks; b) It is difficult to assume that some person in a later generation established it, as why would Klal Yisrael suddenly follow his custom. Rather one must say it was already followed by Moshe Rabbeinu as a custom. [Hisvadyos ibid]
 See Kaf Hachaim 669:33; Minchas Yitzchak 6:62; Nitei Gavriel Sukkos 101:1-3; Aveilus 2 30:5-7; Piskeiy Teshuvos 669:6
 Levushei Mordechai 4:136; Yalkut Hagershuni 660; Chelkas Yaakov 3:75
 Moed Lekol Chaiy 20:39; Poskim in Kaf Hachaim 669:33
 Sefer Haminhagim p. 78; Sefer Hasichos 1944:30; Hayom Yom 2; Otzer Minhagei Chabad 20; See Nitei Gavriel Sukkos 101; Aveilus 30:5
 So I have seen done
 Harav Leibel Groner in a written correspondence
 Nitei Gavriel ibid; Vetzaruch Iyun as there could be many other reasons for why he does not wish to participate.
 Betzel Hachochmah 4:112; Piskeiy Teshuvos 669:1
 Halef Lecha Shlomo 37; Piskeiy Teshuvos 669:1
Regarding giving a Hakafah to be led by a father and then a son, or vice versa, see Avnei Chefetz 16
 Shaarei Rachamim 8:26; Piskeiy Teshuvos 669:1
 Michaber Y.D. 282:2
 See Shulchan Hatahor 149:2; Aruch Hashulchan Y.D. 282:5; Betzel Hachochma 5:139; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 2:319; Tzedka Umishpat 16 footnote 37 in name of Rav SZ”A; SSH”K 24 footnote 118; Piskeiy Teshuvos 669:2
 Shulchan Hatahor ibid questions the custom and concludes to sit while holding a Sefer Torah
 Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid
 Maharil Hilchos Simchas Torah; Nitei Gavriel 94:26
 SSH”K 20 footnote 75 new edition.
As they are no different than Tefillin which in essence should also be considered MMC”K and is not due to its status as Sifrei Kodesh, and hence may be moved for its use. [See Tosefes Shabbos 308:21]
 Yoreh Deah 279:1 and 4; Shaareiy Halacha Uminhag 3:118
As if it is fixable, one must fix it within thirty days. If the Sefer Torah is not fixable, it is to be placed in Geniza. [ibid]
 The Rebbe [ibid] has questioned the source of deliberately leaving a Pasul Sefer Torah in the Aron in order to dance with it on Simchas Torah, as opposed to placing it in Geniza.
 Ledavid Emes 4:17; Kuntrus Achron on 4; Machazik Bracha 669:9; M”B 669:9; Kaf Hachaim 669:28; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 135 footnote 138
 The reason: As it is forbidden to bring a Torah scroll for temporary residence. See our corresponding Sefer “The Laws of Rosh Hashanah” Chapter 1 Halacha 12 for the required conditions
 Opinion in Chida ibid, M”B ibid, and Poskim ibid; Mor Uketzia 135; Shaareiy Efraim 9:46; Piskeiy Teshuvos 135:28
 Yaskil Avdi 6 Hashmatos
 Yabia Omer 7:56; Piskeiy Teshuvos 135:28; However, see Chemdas Tzevi 1:12, Moadim Uzmanim 6:79 and Piskeiy Teshuvos 669 footnote 35 that it should not be removed onto the streets
 Elya Raba 669:5; Aruch Hashulchan 660:3; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 669:1
 Taz 154:7
 Kaf Hachaim 669:32 in name of Chida, the Rashash, and the Ben Ish Chaiy; Mishmeres Shalom Kudinav 47; Piskeiy Teshuvos 669:2
 Likkutei Diburim Vol. 2 p. 500
 See Rambam end of Hilchos Lulav; Shalmei Chagiga 4:294; M”B 669:11; Piskeiy Teshuvos 669:1
 Sefer Hasichos 5704 p. 39; Otzer Minhagei Chabad p. 374
 M”A 240:3 in name of Arizal “Ein Leshameish…”; Sha’ar Hakavanos p. 103; Or Tzadikim 27:11; Birkeiy Yosef in name of Ramaz, brought in Sha’areiy Teshuvah 668:4 that it is forbidden to do so; M”B 240:7; Kaf Hachaim 240:5
 Implication of M”A ibid; Peri Eitz Chaim ibid; M”B ibid; Chesed Le’alafim 240:3; See Az Nidbaru 3:54; Piskeiy Teshuvos 240:10 footnote 72
 Birkeiy Yosef 668 in name of Ramaz; Taharas Yisrael 240:11; Kaf Hachaim 240:5 rules that based on the Mekubalim it is forbidden during both nights of Shemini Atzeres in the diaspora; Kaf Hachaim 494:14; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 8:2; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 240:10
 Sha’areiy Teshuvah 481:1; Taharas Yisrael 240:240:11 in name of Ramaz; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 8:3
 Admur 494:3 regarding Shavuos; M”A 240:3; Chesed Le’alafim 240:3; Siddur Ya’avetz; Chayeh Adam 130:22; M”B 240:7; Kaf Hachaim 240:5; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 8:5 footnote 6
 Darkei Taharah p. 203; Sheyikadesh Atzmo ibid
 Sh’lah p. 213 brought in Kaf Hachaim 581:86 regarding the night of Rosh Hashanah
 M”B 240:7 in name of Chochmas Adam; 581:26; Ben Ish Chaiy Vayeira 2:23; Kaf Hachaim 240:5; See Seder Hayom brought in Kaf Hachaim 581:86; Machazik Bracha 581:4; Ben Ish Chai Netzavim 9; Chayeh Adam 139:7; Kaf Hachaim 581:88.
 See Chayeh Adam 139:7; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 8:8
 Biur Halacha 240:1 “Mileil Shabbos” in name of Yeshuos Yaakov; Piskeiy Teshuvos 240:10; See Sheyikadesh Atzmo 8:4 footnote 5
 See K’neses Hagedola 581; Setimas Haposkim
 Levush 669; Custom brought in Elya Raba 669:20 and P”M A”A end of 669; Tzemach Tzedek in Piskeiy Dinim Chidushim on Rambam 6 “This is the proper custom”; M”B 669:17; Sefer Hamamarim 5711:93; Hayom Yom 23rd Tishrei; Sefer Haminhagim p. 69 that so is also the Chabad custom that the Kohanim pronounce the Priestly Blessing at Shacharis instead of at Mussaf; See Kaf Hachaim 669:40; Piskeiy Teshuvos 669:5
Other customs: Some are accustomed to performing Nesias Kapayim as usual during Musaf. [Elya Raba 669:20 and P”M ibid, brought in M”B ibid, that so is custom in Prague] See Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 26
 The reason: As it is common to be drunk on Simchas Torah, and one who is drunk may not recite the Priestly blessings. [Levush ibid; Poskim ibid]
 See Piskeiy Teshuvos 286:8
 Admur 286:4
 So rule regarding Mincha, and the same would apply to Musaf, as rules Admur ibid: Misgeres Hashulchan on Kitzur SHU”A 69:2 regarding baked Mezonos, based on Shaareiy Teshuvah 639 regarding Sukkah; Kitzur SHU”A ibid that one should be stringent even regarding non-baked Mezonos; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid
 M”A 233:17 regarding Mincha, and the same would apply to Musaf, as rules Admur ibid
 See Chasam Sofer O.C. 69; SSH”K 52 footnote 50 and 55 in name of Rav SZ”A; Piskeiy Teshuvos 286:8 footnote 62
 Sefer Haminhagim p. 68; Otzer Minhagei Chabad p. 379; See Nemukei Orach Chaim 669 that so was the custom to circle 3.5 times on Simchas Torah in the Krakos shul which was over 900 years old. He firefly opposes those that wanted to change the custom and do seven Hakafos.
Other customs: Others have the custom to encircle the Bimah seven times also by day. This is based on the custom of the Arizal which was to perform seven Hakafos both by day and night.
 Shaareiy Halacha Uminhag 5:88
Background: In the Moreh Shiur of Chitas it states that the learning of Parshas Bereishis is to begin on Issru Chag. [See Hayom Yom 23rd Tishrei which only mentions to learn until the end of Vezos Habracha, and Hayom Yom of the 24th of Tishrei which mentions to learn up until that days Aliyah for Bereishis] The Rebbe however instituted for it to be learned on Simchas Torah. The reason for this is because originally people were completely involved in the Simchas Hayom and hence had no time to learn the portion of Bereishis on Simchas Torah itself and consequently it was differed to the next day. However now that people in any event take time off from rejoicing in order to do mundane matters, therefore it is proper to reinstitute the learning to Simchas Torah which is the day Bereishis begins to be read. Nevertheless, one is not Heaven forbid to diminish in rejoicing in order to complete this learning and is rather to do so in his free time that he is not involved in rejoicing. [ibid]
 Hayom Yom 23rd Tishrei
 So is implied from Rebbe ibid
 Michaber 669:1; Admur 282:15; See Kaf Hachaim 669:2 for various customs
 Custom of all Jewry; Kaf Hachaim 669:3; Siddurim
Other customs: Some are accustomed to only read four Aliyos in Vezos Habracha. [Maaseh Rav 231]
 See Q&A!
 Rama 669:1; Peri Chadash 684; Shulchan Gavoa 684:11; Kaf Hachaim 684:16
 Chemed Moshe 669; Kaf Hachaim 669:41; Biur Halacha 669:1 “Vechozrim”
 Rama 669:1; See Kaf Hachaim 669:3; Piskeiy Teshuvos 669:3
 M”B 669:13; See Kaf Hachaim 669:3 for various customs
 The order of Kohen and Levi when repeating the reading: Each time one repeats the reading, the Aliyah of Kohen and Levi are to be repeated if there are still Kohanim or Levi’im who need Aliyos. If there are only Kohanim who need Aliyos, then one can give a Yisrael the Aliyah after the Kohen. If there are only Levi’im who need Aliyos, then one can repeat from the Levi Aliyah. If there are no Kohanim or Levi’im who need Aliyos, then one starts from the Aliyah of Shelishi, [See Meishiv Davar 2:48; Kaf Hachaim 669:3] However, the custom of the world in such a case is to restart from Vezos Habracha without giving a new Aliyah to the Kohen and Levi. [Piskeiy Teshuvos 669 footnote 14]
 Rama 669:1; Sichas Leil Simchas Torah 5715, printed in Toras Menachem 13:55; Otzer Minhagei Chabad p. 380
 Rama ibid
 This follows the wording of the Rama ibid
 See Kinyan Torah 5:71 and Piskeiy Teshuvos 669:3 regarding if they accidently read until this point prior to the Aliyah of Kol Hanearim
 Shalmei Tzibur p. 293:3; M”B 669:12; Kaf Hachaim 669:4
 Rebbe ibid
 Rama ibid; Rebbe ibid
 Rebbe ibid in name of the Rebbe Rayatz
The reason: As the day of Simchas Torah is higher than this concept of spreading a Tallis and saying these verses. [Rebbe ibid]
 M”B 669:12 “Likewise when they call up a Gadol with the children for Kol Hanearim..”; However see Kaf Hachaim 669:4 in name of Shalmei Tzibur p. 293:3 who implies the children may go up on their own and say the blessing; See also Rama 669:1 that the custom is to call a Katan for even Chasan Torah!
 Shalmei Tzibur p. 293:3; M”B ibid; Kaf Hachaim 669:4
 See Kaf Hachaim ibid
 Sichas Yom Simchas Torah 5719 p. 146
 Kaf Hachaim 669:4; No mention is made in the Poskim that the children must go up together in one Aliya, and some are actually accustomed for each child to get their own Aliya.
 See Piskeiy Teshuvos 669:4
 Rama 669:1 “He calls to others to make a festive meal”; Tur 669
 Mordechai Hagahos Ketanos
 Rama ibid
The reason: As in today’s times, in any event the Baal Korei reads the Parsha for the congregation and not the Olah. [Rama ibid]
 Sefer Haminhagim p. 148 [English edition]
 Sefer Haminhagim p. 148 [English edition]
 Siddur Admur; Siddur Arizal
 Implication of Admur 282:15 who writes “And we complete the Minyan [of five/seven Aliyos] in the first two Sefarim” thus proving that the Aliyah in Sefer Bereishis counts as part of the 5/7; See Hiskashrus 274 and 283
 Kinyan Torah 3:71; Piskeiy Teshuvos 669:3; Luach Devar Beito; Siddur Olas Reiyah; Eim Lamikra; Luach Eretz Yisrael Tukichinsky
 Luach Kolel Chabad; Hiskashrus ibid
 Elya Raba 669; M”B 669:12; See Kaf Hachaim 669:4 in name of Shalmei Tzibur p. 293:3 “If two people go up for the same Aliya…”
 Sichas Yom Simchas Torah 5719 p. 146; Otzer Minhagei Chabad p. 379
 See Sichas Yom Simchas Torah 5719 p. 146 for three customs in this
 Shalmei Tzibur p. 293:3; M”B and Kaf Hachaim ibid
 See Kaf Hachaim ibid
 Sichas Yom Simchas Torah 5719 p. 146
 Shaareiy Efraim 1:32; Ruach Chaim 669:2; Kaf Hachaim 669:11; Piskeiy Teshuvos 141:4; 669:5
 The above sources in Ruach Chaim and Kaf Hachaim ibid only discuss the case of Chasan Torah and Chasan Bereishis where two Sifrei Torah are removed, and so is also implied from Shaareiy Efraim ibid
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 141:4 and footnote 25
 M”B 135:37; Piskeiy Teshuvos 669:3
 M”B 669:2 in name of Maharil; Piskeiy Teshuvos 669:4
 See Piskeiy Teshuvos 669:4
 Kaf Hachaim 496:61; Luach Eretz Yisrael Tukichinsky; Tzitz Eliezer 12:50; Beir Moshe 7 p. 293; Piskeiy Teshuvos 669:4
 Chaim Sheol 1:13; Shaareiy Efraim 8:97; Rebbe in Sichas Simchas Torah 5719
 Rebbe ibid
 Shaareiy Efraim 8:2; Ashel Avraham Butchach 669; Piskeiy Teshuvos 669:4
 Hiskashrus; Otzer Minhagei Chabad p. 381
 Eish Daas 7, brought in Y.D. Pischeiy Teshuvos 399:1; Gilyon Maharsha Y.D. 400; Chochmas Shlomo 548:1; See Nitei Gavriel Sukkos 101:5; Aveilus 122:10; Piskeiy Teshuvos 669:6
 See M”B 548:16
 See Beir Heiytiv 669:1; Devar Shmuel 72; Nitei Gavriel 122:8; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid
 See Beir Heiytiv ibid; Zechor Leavraham Avel Ches 13; Kinyan Torah 6:98; Poskim ibid
 See Shaar Hakavanos p. 104; Peri Eitz Chaim Shaar 29:9; Moed Lekol Chaiy 25:37; Ben Ish Chaiy Vezos Habracha 1:17; Kaf Hachaim 669:30; Otzer Minhagei Chabad 98; Piskeiy Teshuvos footnote 35; Nitei Gavriel 94:27 footnote 32
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