- Increase in Tzedakah on Erev Sukkos.
- Bake Challahs for Yom Tov in the honor of Yom Tov.
- Cut the nails on Erev Sukkos in honor of Yom Tov.
- Get a haircut on Erev Sukkos.
- Prepare sweets for children in fulfilling Mitzvah of Simcha.
- Buy wife jewelry or clothing for Simcha.
- Do not eat a meal from the 10th hour of the day until the Yom Tov starts. This is approximately three hours before sunset. The above is only with regards to a set meal [i.e. 55 grams of bread] however it is permitted to eat a mere snack up until sunset and there is no need to refrain from doing so. If one transgressed or forgot and did not eat prior to the 10th hour, then on Erev Sukkos he may not eat a meal past the 10th
- Bathe one’s body in hot wateron Erev Sukkos in honor of Yom Tov.
- Bind the Lulav in the Sukkah. One should be meticulous to bind the Lulav himself as opposed to having someone else do it for him.
- Verifying the validity of the Sukkah: Before leaving to Shul for Mincha on Erev Sukkos, one is to verify the validity of the Sukkah and confirm that everything is in order.
- Candle lighting: One first lights the candles and then says the blessing of “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Haolam Asher Kidishanu Bimitzvosav Vetzivanu Lehadlik Neir Shel Yom Tov”. This blessing is then followed by the blessing of Shehechiyanu.
- Light the candles prior to sunset at the same time that they are lit on Erev Shabbos.
- The candles are to be lit within the Sukkah. If this is not possible [such as due to safety reasons] then one is to light inside.
Binding the Lulav:
- Bind the Lulav on Erev Sukkos inside the Sukkah. [The Rebbe would do so after midday.]
- One is to personally bind the Lulav. Women and children are not to do so for a man’s Lulav.
- The Chabad custom is not to use the Lulav pockets.
- One makes two knots on the Lulav itself using Lulav leaves. One then places a Hadas on the right, left and center of the Lulav, placing the Aravos in between in an inconspicuous fashion. The Hadassim should cover over the 2 knots on the Lulav. One then binds three knots onto the Hadassim and Aravos, all three should be within the space of 1 handbreadth (8 centimeters). It is proper to bind the Hadassim and Aravos towards the bottom of the Lulav in order to also hold on to them when doing the mitzvah. If one did not do so, he has nevertheless fulfilled the Mitzvah.
- The spine of the Lulav must reach at least one Tefach above the Hadassim/Aravos of the Lulav. The top of the spine is defined as the area where it begins to split into other leaves.
Seder Netilas Lulav-How to Bentch Lulav: The order of the blessing & shaking
- Awaken early in the morning to perform the Mitzvah of Daled Minim.
- Do not eat before shaking the Lulav. If, however one will not be able to shake until after midday he should eat beforehand.
- Shake the Lulav inside the Sukkah.
- All the 4 Minim must be held top side up [the Esrog with its Pitam facing up].
- A right-handed person holds the Lulav in his right hand and the Esrog in his left hand, while a left-handed person holds the Lulav in his left hand and the Esrog in his right hand. The exact order of when the Lulav and Esrog are lifted will be explained next.
- The blessing of “Al Netilas Lulav” is recited prior to shaking the Lulav, on each day. On the first day, or first time of shaking, the blessing of Shehechiyanu is also recited, as stated in Halacha 2. The following is the order of the blessing and the shaking:
- The blessing process:
- The direction to face-East: One faces east [even if it does not face Jerusalem] throughout the blessing and shaking process, irrelevant of which direction one shakes the Lulav in.
- Taking hold of the Lulav: One is to take hold of the Lulav with its top side facing. One who is right-handed takes hold of the Lulav in his right hand, while one who is left-handed takes the Lulav in his left hand.
- Direction of spine: The spine of the Lulav is to face the person.
- The blessing: The blessing is recited after lifting the Lulav but prior to lifting the Esrog, which remains on the table and is not lifted until after the blessing. One then says the blessing of Al Netilas Lulav and lifts the Esrog. If he is right-handed, then he lifts the Esrog in his left hand, while if he is left-handed then he lifts the Esrog in his right hand.
- Shehechiyanu: On the first day of Sukkos, or by the first time shaking, one now says the blessing of Shehechiyanu, after lifting the Esrog but prior to attaching it to the Lulav.
- Adjoining the Esrog to the Lulav: After concluding the blessing(s), one then adjoins [the top third] of the Esrog [thus having the Esrog in a slightly slanted position] to the bottom area of the Lulav, Hadassim, and Aravos, in the area that they end. [However, throughout the shaking, one remains holding the Lulav in his right hand and the Esrog in his left hand, for one who is right-handed.]
- The shaking: One then shakes the Lulav with the adjoined Esrog three times in six different directions, for a total of 18 shakes, as explained in Halacha 1B. One first shakes three times southeast [towards one’s right], then three times northeast [towards one’s left], then three times east [frontwards], three times up, three times down, and three times west.
- Bringing the Lulav to one’s chest: Each time that one brings the Lulav back inwards towards his chest (in the area of the heart that he hits for Ashamnu ), he is to make sure that the back of the Lulav and other species and Esrog touch his actual chest.
- How to bring the Lulav back down and up: When moving the Lulav back down after moving it to the upwards direction, he is to bring it slightly down, and only then bring it back to his chest. This represents drawing down the Divine lights into the world. The same applies when moving it upward after moving it downward, that one should first slightly move it upwards prior to bringing it to the chest, representing the elevation of the world.
- Shaking towards west: When shaking towards west, the first two times one shakes to southwest [towards one’s back on his right side] and then shakes it completely towards the center of the west.
- Covering the Esrog: Throughout the shaking, the Esrog remains covered within one’s hand, until the last shake where one slightly reveals the Esrog.
- Not to turn Lulav horizontal or upside down: The Lulav remains erect, facing upwards, throughout all of the shakings. It is not to be turned upside down when one shakes its downwards.
- Shaking by Holacha before Hovah: The Lulav is to be shaken after each Holacha prior to the Hovah.
The First day[s] of Yom Tov
- Remind the family to have intention to dwell in the Sukkah for the sake of remembering the Exodus and the clouds of glory.
- The Seder of Kiddush: Askinu, Hagafen, Asher Bachar Banu, Leisheiv, Shehechiyanu. The Rebbe’s custom is to look at Sechach upon saying Leisheiv.
- Having in mind by Shehechiyanu: The Shehechiyanu is going on both the holiday and the Sukkah.
- Dip Challah in honey: It is customary of some to dip the Challah in honey throughout all the Yom Tov [and Shabbos] meals through Simchas Torah.
- Leisheiv Basukkah for the household: The household members who heard Kiddush are to say the blessing of Leisheiv Basukkah after saying the blessing of Hamotzi.
- How much to eat: A man must eat over a Kibeitza of bread in the Sukkah on 1st and 2nd night [in the Diaspora]. One should try to eat before midnight.
- Ushpizin: In addition to the company of Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov…. each night in ones Sukkah there is a tradition that the Chassidic Rabbeim also come to visit, starting with the Baal Shem Tov until the Rebbe Rashab. It is not our custom to say anything for the Ushpizin, however one should say a Dvar Torah mentioning the guest of that night.
- Yaaleh Veyavo in Bentching: If one forgot Yaaleh Veyavo in Birchas Hamazon then by the first two meals of Yom Tov one is to repeat Birchas Hamazon.
- Waking early for shaking Lulav: One is to awake early to fulfill the Mitzvah of Daled Minim especially on the first day of Sukkos.
- Simchas Beis Hashoeiva: Simchas Beis Hashoeiva begins on the 1st night of Sukkos.
- Hallel: The complete Hallel is recited throughout all 7 days of Sukkos and Shemini Atzeres. One holds on to Lulav during Hallel, and picks up also the Esrog only when it is needed to be shaken. We shake the Lulav a total of 4 times in Hallel. One who said a blessing on the Lulav before Hallel is only to shake the Lulav three times in Hallel, omitting the shaking in Ana Hashem.
- Hoshanos: Immediately after Hallel, prior to Kaddish, it is customary to circle the Bimah one time holding on to the Lulav and Esrog. One is to hold the Lulav and Esrog in two separate hands, the Lulav in his right hand and the Esrog in his left.
- One says the word Hoshana prior to each one of the words said for that day. Upon reaching the words upon which one begins to encircle, one is to say Hoshana prior and after each word. One places the Sefer Torah on the Bimah. One without a Lulav does not go around and rather holds on to the Sefer Torah.
- Day Kiddush: Say Leisheiv Basukkah after Hagafen.
- Havdalah: One says Havdalah in the Sukkah saying Leisheiv Basukkah. No candle or Besamim is used.
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