Simchat Torah

Simchat Torah (“rejoicing over the law”) occurs just after Sukkot on the 22nd of Tishrei (the same day as Shmini Atzeret) in Israel and on the 23rd outside of Israel. The Torah is divided into fifty-four parashot (“weekly portions”) that guide readers through the entire Torah in a single year, and Simchat Torah marks both the completion of this annual cycle and the beginning of the new cycle. So on this holiday observant Jews rejoice over the Torah, not only having all males in the congregation read portions of the end of Deuteronomy and the beginning of Genesis, but also dancing and singing around the Torah scroll, which is led in a procession seven times around the synagogue. Many kiss the scroll as it is carried about. Believers should reflect on whether we demonstrate such joy in God’s Word. Our hearts should be heavy when we read in 2 Corinthians 3:15 that “even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail [veil] is upon their heart”! The only solution is verse 16: “Nevertheless when it [a person] shall turn to the Lord, the vail [veil] shall be taken away.”

 

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