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Simchat Torah!

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As Sukkot ends, we are celebrating Simchat Torah! Actually today is also known as the Shemini Atzeret, but I’m more excited about Simchat Torah–the rejoicing with the Torah. This day marks the end of the public Torah reading cycle of the year, and we start again for the new year. It’s a celebration expressing our joy of having the Torah, that G-d gave it to us on Shavuot. We celebrate the wisdom and the commandments, the history and the richness of our Judaism on this day. Because without the Torah, we wouldn’t be who we are today, whether we believe or not.

This is the day when everyone is called up to read the Torah. This is the day, when there is dancing with the Torah scrolls in the synagogue… and sometimes outside, around the synagogue. Yep, this is the day when the Torah scrolls get to party. Kids get to wave flags, and we finally get to have dinner inside… as we take down the sukkah.

The Torah only mentions Shemini Atzeret, or the 8th day of the gathering associated with Sukkot, and it’s usually celebrated over two days in the Diaspora, while one day here in Israel. The Torah doesn’t say much about this holiday, but the Rabbinic holiday of Simchat Torah gives it a distinct joyfull feeling.

From apples and honey to fasting to spending our time in a sukkah, the autumn holidays, aka the High Holidays and Sukkot are coming to an end, giving us a 2-month break till Chanukah, with no big celebrations other than the weekly holiday, the Shabbat. So today, when we dance and rejoice, we put all the joy of our Jewishness into that dance, not unlike David did many centuries ago.

12 Responses to “Simchat Torah!”

  1. Ciska says:

    A beautiful post … the joy radiates from it!

  2. Marica says:

    Awesome 🙂

  3. doesitevenmatter3 says:

    OMYGOSH! Your words here bring such joy to my heart! I want to dance, too! Thank you for sharing this post! I like that the Torah scrolls get to party! 🙂 Such important words…I’m glad they are celebrated!!!
    HUGS! 🙂

  4. Milena says:

    The dancing in the picture reminds me of the one Jewish wedding party I’ve been to, where everyone danced until we laughed so much that we could hardly breathe. I want to dance like that again some day.

    • Was there a mixed crowd? I mean men and women? I just recently went to an Orthodox wedding, and while the sexes wee separated, I don’t think anyone stopped dancing for a second. 🙂

      • Milena says:

        Yes, the crowd was mixed. Two-thirds of the crowd were Jewish and the rest not.

        • I meant mixed gender. 😀 Should have been more specific.

          • Milena says:

            :-D! And I reply with too short answers :-). At University I was once told “please write two sentences in between all sentences you have written”… I understood your question, and answered in my first sentence, and then went on to add extra information in my second sentence! Which blurred the message of sentence 1. Oh dear. Can I blame it on English not being my mother tongue? 😀

            Yes, there were both men and women, mixed, everyone dancing together. The Jews were all either Ukrainian or Russian, and I don’t think they were orthodox at all.

  5. jen says:

    It’s lovely to actually see pictures. I’d heard the celebration described in a Lauren Winner book (Girl Meets God).

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