Jewish Holidays

Gratitude and Simchat Torah

June 29, 2006, by

Did the angels agree that Man should be given the Torah? Not at first, according to the Midrash. However, when they protested, G-d told Moshe to answer them. He said to them, “Do you have parents, that you should need a command to honor and fear them? Do you have jealousy, that you should need […]

The “Chatanim”: Chatan Torah and Chatan Bereishit

June 29, 2006, by

Who are the “Chatanim?” First of all, “Chatanim” is the plural of “Chatan,” which means bridegroom. This word befits the occasion, for the Jewish People on this day is expressing its love for the Torah and for its Author. Why is the plural used? How many bridegrooms are needed at a wedding? In this case, […]

“Hakafot”: “Circles in the Square”

June 29, 2006, by

What are Hakafot? On the night preceding Simchat Torah and again the following morning [“they could’ve danced all night!”], Jews all over the world (in Israel, Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are rolled into one) dance joyously with the Torah. Each dance is begun with a circuit of the bimah (the central platform in the […]

Simchat Torah: Rejoicing With the Torah

June 29, 2006, by

What appears to be the last day of Sukkot, and what in the Diaspora is the “second” day of Shmini Atzeret, is called Simchat Torah, literally “the joy of/over Torah.” On every Shabbos during the year we read a portion of the Torah (The Pentateuch), called a “Parsha.” Simchat Torah is the day we complete […]

Parshat V’zot Habracha & Transition

June 29, 2006, by

On Simchat Torah, we read Parshat V’zot HaBracha. At first glance, it seems only appropriate that this portion be read, as the very foundation of Simchat Torah is the siyum (completion) of the Torah. However, if we probe a bit further, we will see that V’zot ha-Bracha is quite unusual. V’zot ha-Bracha is a parsha […]

Stories that Teach

June 29, 2006, by

Throughout Sukkot, special offerings were brought on the Altar in the Temple. Our Sages have taught us that the 70 special bull sacrifices brought on Sukkot were for the benefit of the 70 nations of the world. On Shemini Atzeret, the holiday that appears to be the eighth day of Sukkot, only one bull sacrifice […]

Simchat Torah – Rejoicing with the Torah

June 29, 2006, by

What is Simchat Torah? The holiday of Simchat Torah is a great invention of the Jewish People in their Exile. It celebrates the completion of and the beginning of the “Reading of the Torah.” What do you mean “invention?” Since the Shmini Atzeret-Simchat Torah Holiday has no intrinsic Mitzvot, but is a celebration of the […]

Simchat Torah: A Celebration of Our Relationship with God

June 26, 2006, by

The holiday of Simchat Torah is a great invention of the Jewish People in their Exile. It celebrates the completion of and the beginning of the “Reading of the Torah.” Since the Shmini Atzeret-Simchat Torah Holiday has no intrinsic Mitzvot, but is a celebration of the relationship between G-d and Israel, the Jewish People created […]