Beautiful Dvar Torah for Shemini Atzeret

I have a chavruta with whom I am studying the works of R. Yehuda Leib Graubart, who was a Rav in Europe and later in St. Louis and Toronto in the early part of the 20th century. We’re learning through a book of his drashot called “Devarim Kichtavam”. It’s fascinating to see how he relates to the “current events” of his time, such as the Scopes Monkey trial.

He has a short Devar Torah on Shemini Atzeret which is beautiful, and which expresses his Zionist sympathies. He contrasts the celebration of Sukkot, which symbolizes galut in that we exit our homes and bring sacrifices on behalf of the nations of the world, in which we shake a lulav that represents our subservience to foreign powers and our constant guardedness against threats that could be coming from any direction, with the celebration of Shemini Atzeret which reminds us that we will eventually return to our home with its strong foundations and steady shelter, that the galut has an Atzeret – an end. On this date (at least in Israel) we read the verse of “Va-yishkon Yisrael betach badad” – Israel shall dwell securely alone.

Hag Sameah!

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