9.27.2010

Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah

On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the Festival of Sukkot, seven days for the L-RD... on the eighth day, there shall be a holy convocation for you. -Leviticus 23:34


Tishri 22, the day after the seventh day of Sukkot, is the holiday Shemini Atzeret. In Israel, Shemini Atzeret is also the holiday of Simchat Torah. In the Diaspora, where extra days of holidays are held, only the second day of Shemini Atzeret is Simchat Torah: Shemini Atzeret is Tishri 22 and 23, while Simchat Torah is Tishri 23. This year those correspond to September 29 (at sundown)-October 1.







This holiday is characterized by utterly unbridled joy, which surpasses even the joy of Sukkot. The joy reaches its climax on Simchat Torah, when we celebrate the conclusion – and restart – of the annual Torah-reading cycle.


The first day, Shemini Atzeret, features the prayers for rain, officially commemorating the start of the Mediterranean (i.e., Israeli) rain season, and the Yizkor (prayer supplicating G‑d to remember the souls of the departed).




The highlight of the second day, Simchat Torah ("The Joy of the Torah"), is the hakafot, held both on the eve and morning of Simchat Torah, in which we march and dance with Torah scrolls around the reading table in the synagogue. (In many synagogues, hakafot are also conducted on the eve of Shemini Atzeret.)


On this joyous day when we conclude the Torah, it is customary for every man (and women in Conservative and Reform movements) to take part in the celebration by receiving an aliyah. The children too receive an aliyah!



Thanks, Dear Blog Readers for checking out our blog. We wish everyone a "Hag Sameach" (Happy Holiday). 

By Linda B, EtsyChai Team Captain

4 comments:

blazingneedles said...

Great post!

Handmade in Israel said...

Linda, a great post as always! Very interesting. We need to pray for a little rain over here. It's been so hot this week in Israel!

luckxury said...

I love thie one! very interesting. Thank you

ViSart-DaLi Claying Mama said...

Thank you Linda, great post!