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When did this minhag begin? Where? and with who, and why is it almost all of Klal Yisroel who do it today? Is there any other "kabbalistic" minhag like this (well L'cha Dodi comes to mind).

  • There is a whole book from Mosad HaRav Kook written on this... – Yehoshua Oct 3 '18 at 22:25
  • Hakafos is also associated with chuppah,and hoshanos – sam Oct 3 '18 at 22:35
  • I believe that Mas. Succah mentions hakafot done around the mizbe'ach during Succot – DanF Oct 3 '18 at 22:53
  • I was not asking about hoshanos on sukkah (minhag naviim) but specifically the hakafoth with the Sefer Torah on Simchas Torah (and Shemini Atzeret by Chassidim ) – Dr.YSG Oct 3 '18 at 23:01
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According to this article found on the RCE's website, written by a certain רב ישראל פינחס טירנואר, the minhag of Hakafot began with the Arizal. The author supplies a supporting quote on page 6 of the article from R. Chaim Vital's Shaar HaKavanot, in the introduction to Drushei Chag Sukkot, where R. Vital describes how the Arizal would perform Hakafot.

  • So it was as the OP suspected - it originated with kabbalah. – ezra Oct 4 '18 at 3:26
  • @ezra, not necessarily. Not everything the Ari did was based on kabbalah. – msh210 Oct 4 '18 at 4:06
  • @Chaim Fascinating, I heard this many years ago from R. Levi Garelik, but no source. You found me the source in RCE, which was founded by R. Garelik senior and I think Levi works there now. – Dr.YSG Oct 4 '18 at 9:32

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