Simchat Torah celebrations with Torah Scrolls [Photo Attribution: X100S]
Following the week-long festival of Sukkot, we come to the joyous holiday of Simchat Torah (meaning joy of the Torah) or Shemini Atzeret (meaning the the 8th, final day), which is the biblical name for the holiday.
On Simchat Torah, we both end and start anew the annual Torah reading cycle. This joyous occasion is marked with dancing and celebration that spills from the synagogues to the streets. The exuberant dancing traditionally involves “hakafot,” which is when everyone joins in dancing around the Torahs seven times. Simchat Torah also features the prayer for rain (officially commemorating the start of the rainy season in Israel) and the Yizkor memorial prayer for the departed.
During the holiday of Simchat Torah a number of customs which are observed including lighting candles, eating festive meals, and refraining from work (similar to the Sabbath).
This year, in Israel, the holiday of Simchat Torah will begin at sundown Wednesday, October 11th, and conclude at sunset on Thursday, October 12th. Please consider commemorating this special day and this most special time of the year by signing up to receive beautiful products produced by the pioneers of the Judea and Samaria regions of Israel.
From us here at Lev Haolam to you and yours, have a happy and joyous Simchat Torah!