Hoshana Rabbah – The Last Day of SukkotOn the 7th and final day of the Jewish holiday Sukkot comes Hoshana Rabbah. This Jewish holiday is celebrated by a special synagogue service in which the congregation circles the synagogue seven times while shaking the lulav and ertog. (For questions regarding the lulav and ertog see our Sukkot Jewish holiday article.) Seven circuits around the synagogue are made because it’s the seventh day of Sukkot and also to correspond to the seven words in Psalms 26:6, “Erhatzbenikayon kappay, va’ashovevah et mizbahakha Hashem.” Translated into English it means, “I wash my hands in purity and circle around Your altar, O Lord.”
The entire ceremony is to rejoice and show gratitude for a blessed and fruitful year. It also serves to tear down the iron wall that separates us from G-d, much like the wall of Jericho. At the conclusion of the Jewish holiday service, five willow branches are beaten on the ground while the Aramaic expression “Chabit, chabit velah barich” is chanted to symbolize the elimination of sin. This act is also a prayer for rain and success in agriculture in the coming year.