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Mishnah /Rosh Hashanah 1:2 - - משנה ראש השנה פרק א משנה א

בְּאַרְבָּעָה פְרָקִים הָעוֹלָם נִדּוֹן, בְּפֶסַח עַל הַתְּבוּאָה, בַּעֲצֶרֶת עַל פֵּרוֹת הָאִילָן, בְּרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה כָּל בָּאֵי הָעוֹלָם עוֹבְרִין לְפָנָיו כִּבְנֵי מָרוֹן... וּבֶחָג נִדּוֹנִין עַל הַמָּיִם:

At four times the world is judged: On Pesach, for the crops. On Shavuot, for the fruits of the tree. On Rosh Hashnah, all the world passes before Him like sheep, ... And on Sukkot, they are judged for the water.

Gemarah Rosh Hashanah 16a

ומפני מה אמרה תורה נסכו מים בחג אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא נסכו לפני מים בחג כדי שיתברכו לכם גשמי שנה - And for what reason did the Torah say: Pour water onto the altar in the Temple on the festival of Sukkot? The Holy One, Blessed be He, said: Pour water before Me on the festival of Sukkot so that the rains of the year will be blessed for you.

Mishnah Sukkah 4:1

לוּלָב וַעֲרָבָה, שִׁשָּׁה וְשִׁבְעָה. הַהַלֵּל וְהַשִּׂמְחָה, שְׁמֹנָה. סֻכָּה וְנִסּוּךְ הַמַּיִם, שִׁבְעָה. וְהֶחָלִיל, חֲמִשָּׁה וְשִׁשָּׁה: The [shaking of the] lulav and the [ritual of the] willow [branches were each done, at times] on six [days of the festival], and [at times] on seven. The [recitation of the] Hallel, and the simchah [the obligation to bring Shelamim sacrifices to the Temple as part of the rejoicing on the three pilgrimage festivals] were each done on eight [days]. The [dwelling in the] sukkah, and the water libations [were each done] on seven [days]. And the flute [was played, at times] on five, and [at times] on six.**

Tur OC 664:1 - טור אורח חיים סימן תרסד סעיף א

ביום חמישי של חול המועד שהוא הושענא רבה נוהגין שמרבין מזמורים כמו בי"ט ואומר קדושה רבה במוסף ומרבים קצת בנרות כמו ביום כיפור לפי שבחג נדונין על המים והכל הולך אחר החתום וכל חיי אדם תלויין במים

On the fifth day of Chol Hamoed, which is Hoshanah Rabbah it is customary to add extra songs [in the prayers] like on Yom-tov, And a longer kedusha is said, and some additional candles are lit like on Yom kippur, Because on Sukkot we are Judged for water, and all is dependent on the sealing [of the decree], and all human life depends on water.

ומרבים קצת בנרות כמו ביום הכפורים: הגה והמדקדקים נוהגים לטבול עצמן קודם עלות השחר כמו בערב יום כיפור [מנהגים] ויש נוהגים ללבוש הקיטל כמו ביום כפור לפי שבחג נידונים על המים ... ומרבים תחנונים על המים:

And some additional candles are lit like on Yom kippur, and those who are meticulous tend to immerse themselves before dawn, as on Erev Yom kippur, and some have the custom to wear a kittel to practice kittel like on yom Kippur, because on Sukkot we are judged for water... and many pleas are said for water.

Also Shulchan Aruch OC 664:1 - שולחן ערוך אורח חיים סימן תרסד סעיף א

ביום שביעי שהוא הושענא רבה נוהגים להרבות במזמורים כמו ביום טוב: ... On the seventh day [of Sukkot] which is Hoshanah Rabbah it is customary to add extra songs [in the prayers] like on Yom-tov.

See Mishnah Berurah there: כמו ביו"ט - לפי שבחג נידונין על המים והוא גמר החתימה - Like on Yom Tov - Because on Sukkot we are judged for water, and this [day] is the final signing of the decree.

ומרבים קצת בנרות כמו ביום הכפורים: הגה והמדקדקים נוהגים לטבול עצמן קודם עלות השחר כמו בערב יום כיפור [מנהגים] ויש נוהגים ללבוש הקיטל כמו ביום כפור לפי שבחג נידונים על המים ... ומרבים תחנונים על המים:

And some additional candles are lit like on Yom kippur, and those who are meticulous tend to immerse themselves before dawn, as on Erev Yom kippur, and some have the custom to wear a kittel to practice kittel like on yom Kippur, because on Sukkot we are judged for water... and many pleas are said for water.

From all this we see that the judgement of water / rain for the year takes place during the seven days of Sukkot, and the final decree is given on the seventh day which is Hoshanah Rabbah.

Question:

If so, why is the תפילת גשם, The prayer for rain, said on Shmini Atzeres, The eighth day, which is no longer Sukkot, and is after the closing of the final decree for water, rather than on Hashanahah Rabbah?

  • 1
    Have you see Mishna Taanit 1:1? – Double AA Jul 12 '18 at 23:53
  • There are many many תפילות for גשם recited on Hoshana Rabba too (as your sources say), and rain isn't formally requested in the Amida until weeks later anyway. Why you are focusing on one particular petition for rain on Shmini Atzeret in that whole context is greatly unclear. Are you stuck on its modern name? That's hardly such a significant feature. The name probably isn't even that old. – Double AA Jul 12 '18 at 23:56
  • (Incidentally does תפלת גשם literally mean prayer for rain or prayer about rain? I'd guess the latter, no?) – Double AA Jul 13 '18 at 0:22
  • @DoubleAA Even if it means "about" it is still a prayer FOR rain. – RibbisRabbiAndMore Jul 13 '18 at 0:24
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    @YaacovDeane Sorry. That is definitely not the way most of the commentaries that i have seen explain the "yom hadin" of HR, that its all about judgement & praying for the goyim. – RibbisRabbiAndMore Jul 13 '18 at 1:17
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Sefer Hatodaa page 126 says that as we are judged on Succos for water we really should say Tefilas Geshem on the first day of Succos just like we say Tal on the first day of Pesach. However the Gemara Succos 28b explains that rain on Succos is not a good sign since we can not sit in the Sukkah when it rains. Therefore we first pay for Geshem once Succos is over.

  • Thank you. Though that makes me wonder why we do say all the other rain prayers on Hoshanah Rabbah. – RibbisRabbiAndMore Jul 23 '18 at 12:51

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