The rituals one sees at the Kotel on Hoshanah Rabba are derived from the Temple period. Participants make a circuit around the bimah or central podium, on which the Torah is read. They march holding their lulav and etrog.
Seven circuits are supposed to be completed.
Jewish tradition explains that each circuit represents a biblical figure: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph and David. The dramatic “Hoshan-na” (literally “save us”) prayer is recited.
Seven Torah scrolls are used, as well.
Some wear white clothing to symbolize their hope to begin the New Year free of sin.
At the end of the ceremony, willow branches are tied together and struck on the floor, also a reminder of similar services held in the Holy Temple.
Simchat Torah begins Sunday night at sundown.The Jewish holiday