28 September 2023

Hoshanah Rabbah, the Aravot and the Erev Rav

13 Tishrei 5784

This may seem premature as Hoshanah Rabbah is still a week away, but we need the mental preparation for what is coming.

I just read a comment that said, "The country is falling apart...."  And my immediate thought was, "The whole world is falling apart."  In reality the World of Lies is being slowly and methodically disassembled to make way for the World of Truth.


Excerpts from a Collection of Drashas from the Author of Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh, [Rav Itamar Schwartz], pages 104-105:

"...The aravos represent the Erev Rav souls who annex themselves onto the agudah ([lulav] bundle) that is Yisrael. ...The Shulchan Aruch states in the name of the Rokeiach that on Hoshanah Rabbah, we remove the knot binding together the Four Species.  Normally, the Four Species must be tied together, but on Hoshanah Rabbah, we remove the binding of the Four Species [which symbolizes a breach in our agudah achas – caused by the Erev Rav amidst us].

But what causes the disconnection from amongst ourselves in the first place? What causes the disparity amongst us that we need to bind ourselves together? It is due to the presence of the souls of the Erev Rav within the Jewish people. The Sages state that Erev Rav married the women of the tribe of Shimon. They mixed with us, and their mixture into our nation breaks the unity of the Jewish people.

There is the Erev Rav, and there is also a small group of Egyptian souls that converted, who are called “Erev Zeir” [whom Yosef circumcised]. The aravos of the first six days represent the Erev Zeir. The aravos of Hoshanah Rabbah represent Erev Rav; for the word “rav” is the same concept as the word “rabbah” (they both mean “many”).

There are five groupings of Erev Rav, and we take five aravos on Hoshanah Rabbah. It is because on Hoshanah Rabbah, a new mixture enters us: the Erev Rav.

Hoshanah Rabbah is called the “seal within a seal” (chotam b’toch chotam). On Rosh HaShanah, our decree is written, and on Yom Kippur, we are sealed. On Hoshanah Rabbah, we are “sealed within a seal”, similar to the halachah that wine must be sealed within a seal [or else it becomes yayin nesech, wine which is suspected of being used by a gentile for idol worship].

Why isn’t one seal enough, though? Why it is necessary for us to have to be sealed again within the seal? “The seal of Hashem is truth”. There are levels of truth – emes (truth), and emes l’amitah, a more refined level of truth. On Hoshanah Rabbah, we are within the seal [being that we were already sealed on Yom Kippur], but we are still not sealed from the Erev Rav, because the Erev Rav connects themselves to the Jewish people; they are amidst us, so it is not enough if we are merely sealed once. Erev Rav is within the bounds (techum) of the Jewish people; thus, one seal/chotam is not enough to be sealed from them. Therefore, we need another “chotam” within the chotam”. (Chotam/techum have the same letters). That is why we need Hoshanah Rabbah to save us from the influences of the five kinds of Erev Rav.

...The Erev Rav corresponds to the leaves of the hoshanos which must be banged on the ground, so that the leaves fall off. This shows that we need to ‘knock off’ the ‘leaves’ of Erev Rav from amidst us. Thus, the aravos that we take on the seventh day of Succos, so that we can bang hoshanos with them, have a special role which the aravos of the first six days aren’t able to accomplish. The aravos of Hoshanah Rabbah which are banged on the ground contains the power to separate the Erev Rav from us, who wish to latch onto us. The Erev Rav is the root of all the nations of the world, which want to connect to the Jewish people. Whereas the other nations of the world are given some degree of connection with us [such as on Succos, where korbonos are brought for all 70 nations of the world], the Erev Rav may not ever be allowed into our nation.

On Pesach, we left Egypt, and that was when the Erev Rav first came to mix with us. At Shavuos, right after we received the Torah, they mixed with us again to cause the sin of the Golden Calf. On Succos once again they come back once again to connect with us, but on Hoshanah Rabbah, we are given the power to separate them from amidst us. Thus, when the aravos are banged on the ground on Hoshanah Rabbah, we separate them from us by sending them back down to the earth.



  1. Not sure if people are aware of this so I thought I would share it. Wishing everyone good shabbos and a wonderful YT. Be safe!! Suri

    1. This is a quick link to the above. I can't vouch for it, but my mind can dream up a possible scenario. Anyone care to comment on this?

      A Strange Event on October 4, 2023 (2:22 pm Eastern time USA, 9:22 pm in Israel)

  2. Shabbat Shalom & Chag Sameach!
    Wow, that was great. Learned so much and even more clarification than before. Thanks so much!

  3. Jerusalem Talmud Sukkah 4:3
    אותו היום מקיפין את המזבח שבע פעמים. אמר רבי אחא. זיכר ליריחו
    “On that day they surrounded the altar seven times.” Rebbi Abba said, a remembrance of Jericho.

    Perhaps it could be learned that the woman named רחב represents the situation of the Jewish people being held captive within the walls (klipot) of the king of יריחו , the Satan. If so, the ב of רחב could represent the contamination of the nachash within us that prevents the perception of Hashem’s oneness in creation. If so, it would seem that the source of strength and power of Jericho’s wall is alluded in the name יריחו itself, because it represents the ability of the nachash to project a totally disjointed א, with the upper and lower yuds being separated from each other to the extreme. It is the presentation of three perceptions of reality from which to choose, all of them being incorrect – resulting in the ב of her name. However, the unification of the א from within יריחו leads to רחב marrying the King and conquering the Land and its Canaanite kings within ourselves, the byproduct of which drives a change in the physical world. Therefore, the rectification of רחב is her recognition that the proper understanding of herself as אחר is only possible from a correct understanding that she and all of creation emanates only from the א.

    Bamidbar Rabbah 15:15
    R. Samuel bar Nahmani said, Jericho was the door bolt [for unlocking] the land of Israel. They said, ‘If Jericho is conquered, the whole land will be conquered immediately.’

    Jerusalem Talmud Shabbat 1:8
    One does not lay siege to a Gentile city within three days before the Sabbath. That is in a war of choice. But in a war of obligation even on the Sabbath, for so we find that Jericho was conquered only on a Sabbath, as it is written, so you shall act for six days, and it is written, on the Seventh Day you shall circle the city seven times. And it is written, until it fell, even on the Sabbath.

    Interestingly, we find during the week of Yom Tov that Hashem arranged it that weekdays can be transformed into Shabbos with the experience of Shabbos Chol HaMoed and alluded to the unique nature of Hoshanah Rabbah as the Shabbos of the week of Sukkot. This is not the Shabbos of the 39 melochos, but a representation of our achievement in recognizing a greater awareness of the oneness of Hashem. This leads to Shemini Atzeres the eighth day that transcends the separateness of the six weekdays and Shabbos of the seventh day in Oneness.

    And this is why the Torah reading for the first two days of Sukkot is Vayikra 22:27 and Bereishis 21:4, respectively teaches that a korban requires a minimum of 8 days before it is acceptable as an offering and upon which a male infant is allowed to be circumcised. Because not only is the experience of Shabbos needed, it equally requires the six weekdays. The two concepts need an integration into a unified understanding of the oneness of Hashem. Only then can mature teshuva occur and the klipot of the six days of מצרים be separated from our hearts and minds. And this corresponds to Shemini Atzeres and Zos Chanukah.
    A working version that expands this thought is at: https://sukkah.home.blog/

    Chag Sameach