Simchat Torah 2017…. Say What?!
What is that? Let me tell you all about Simchat Torah 2017!
Simchat Torah means “the rejoicing of the Torah.” The holiday celebrates the completion of the year’s Torah cycle. Simchat Torah began in the 9th century CE. The early tradition of reading Torah in the land of Israel took three years of 175 portions. With time, Jews began reading the Torah on a one- year basis. So Simchat Torah is all about finishing the Torah! It is at the end of the holiday Sukkot.
In Israel, Simchat Torah and Shemini Atzeret is on the same day. But outside of Israel, it is on the second day of Shemini Atzeret.
Prayer: All About Simchat Torah 2017
First of all, in the evening service, the congregation says a series of biblical verses with great animation. It is considered such a privilege that people buy the verses are sold at auction. Those very verses begin with Deuteronomy 4:35.
After the haftarah ceremony, members of the congregation will walk and dance around the Torah Scroll, children will wave flags and hold miniature Torah Scrolls. People often will say “Next Year in Jerusalem!” This is the only night service in the year when we read the Torah.
In the morning, we focus mainly on the Torah. Everyone is called up to the Torah for the first blessings over the Torah. In addition, the children are called up for the second-to-last blessings over the Torah. Adult congregants hold a tallit (or prayer shawl) over the children’s heads, symbolizing a huppah for a marriage between the Jewish people and the Torah.
The last part of the Torah portion is a high honor. As a result, congregations reserve it for a great scholar or someone who has been of great service to the community.
When that honored reader finishes reading the Torah portion, everyone yells:
“Be Strong! Be Strong! And let us strengthen one another!”
End of the Holiday: All About Simchat Torah 2017
After all the dancing, eating candy, and celebrating the end of the Torah, Simchat Torah ends with a Havdallah service separating the holy time and the regular time. The fall holiday season has come to an end. And now it’s time to return to regular daily life!
All About Simchat Torah 2017 Blessings
For this Simchat Torah I hope everyone a wonderful holiday season with their families, friends, and loved ones. I wish you all a holiday full of dancing, singing, and sweets. May you all find wisdom and guidance not just in the Torah, but in other Jewish texts AND in each other.
In conclusion, we are created in the image of G-d. If this is true, each one of us may have some divine wisdom in us. Our job is to look for how I can learn and grow from that.