Praying in Jerusalem
Thousands Pray at Kotel on Last Day of Sukkot

Arutz Sheva was on the scene for vatikin prayers at dawn for Hoshana Raba, the seventh day of the 'Feast of Tabernacles.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Sukkot at the Kotel
Sukkot at the Kotel
Flash 90

Thousands of Jews were undeterred by the early pre-dawn hour and cold on Wednesday as they made their way through the Old City of Jerusalem to the Kotel (Western Wall), for vatikin prayers at dawn on the seventh and final day of Sukkot, Hoshana Raba.

Hoshana Raba is traditionally considered to be the last day to affect one's standing before G-d in the new year of the Jewish calendar, when Jews are thought to be judged for the coming year on the merits of their deeds the previous year.

There are various unique traditions in the morning prayer service of the day, such as placing seven (or all) Torah scrolls on the bimah (central podium) as those praying march around them seven times holding their lulavim and reciting the "Hosha na" (lit. "save us") prayers. 

Five willow branches, but not those used in the four species in the lulav, are struck on the floor at the end of the service as a reminder of similar services held in the Temple. Some commentators say that the willow branches symbolize the enemies of the Jewish people and G-d's revenge upon them, a major theme of the Sukkot Haftorah scriptural readings.