Shmini Atzeret and Simhat Torah complete a series of autumn Jewish holidays.
The Torah says that on the eighth day from the beginning of Sukkot, there will be another separate, independent holiday.
His name indicates that on the eighth day (Shmini) someone was detained (Aceret).
Who was detained and why?
Give the following example. The king invited his children to a seven-day feast. When the time of parting came, the king said, “Children, I want to ask you. Please stay another day. "
And in the Torah it is said: "On the eighth day you will have a holiday." The sages claim that on this day - Shmini Atzeret - the Jews will complete the annual cycle of reading the Torah and start reading it from the beginning. Thus, Shmini Atzeret included another element - Simhat Torah - the celebration of the end of the cycle of reading the Torah.
Simhat Torah means - Joy of the Torah.
The Torah consists of five books, with 54 "weekly chapters" read throughout the year. On the day of the feast in the synagogues, the annual cycle of reading ends and begins again.
Scrolls are taken out of the ark and passed with them around the elevation in the center of the synagogue seven times. The procession is accompanied by joyful songs and dances that last until late at night. The reading begins in Shmini Atzeret and ends in Shmini Atzeret. In all Jewish communities, from Tel Aviv to New York, from Moscow to Johannesburg, in Buenos Aires, Marrakesh or Tbilisi, you can meet people dancing around the Torah scroll everywhere. Circles lead around the scroll, and when there is not enough space in the synagogue, a joyful crowd of people pours out on the street and continues the celebration there.
And so the whole nation has been coming for almost two thousand years (before that the Jews read and studied the Torah according to a different system). During the existence of the Temple on the Eighth Day there was a rite of pouring water on the altar, accompanied by requests for rain in the coming year.
Even in the most difficult times, the Jews always danced and rejoiced with the Torah. In many books on the Catastrophe you can read about how the Jews celebrated the Simhat Torah in the ghetto, in the woods and in the shelters. Even in concentration camps.
Simhat Torah is a folk celebration The most amazing thing is the fact that the festival of Simhat Torah itself is not a commandment. There is no mention of him in the Pentateuch of the Torah, in the Book of the Prophets, or even in the Talmud. This holiday was created by the Jewish people themselves, who decided to rejoice and have fun on the day of the end of the annual reading of the Torah. So the Simhat Torah is a celebration of Jewish spontaneity, a celebration of the explosion of feelings that are deep in the soul of every Jew. The Talmud says: "Many waters will not be able to extinguish love" (Song of Songs) - "Love is the Torah" (Treatise Sota, 21). These lines accurately reflect the full meaning and intrinsic meaning of the above. Anyone who seeks an explanation for the joy of the Jews on the feast of Simhat Torah can only explain it in the language of love. The language of love is a special language on our planet. Love is not born of cold calculation, realistic explanation or expediency. Love is an inner intuitive knowledge that whispers an inner voice to you, "That's it!" The feeling of love and joy unites all those who teach the Torah for generations. They express their feelings in the same words as our sages thousands of years ago, and that young people study the Torah today. Neither past generations, nor the variability of time, nor the differences between cultures, nor the geographical distance have been able to change or reduce this feeling that the Torah evokes. And that is why She is the truth. In any situation, in any generation, we are all guided by one feeling - Love. Now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to rejoice in the Torah and celebrate this wonderful Jewish holiday! Congratulations, friends! May the joy, love and unity of the Jewish people remain forever! Hag sameah!