How long until Simchat Torah ?
|This holiday next takes place in 79 Days.|
Dates of Simchat Torah
|Marks the end of the annual cycle of public Torah readings, and the beginning of a new cycle.|
Following closely after Sukkot, Simchat Torah is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the end of the annual cycle of Torah readings, and marks the beginning of a new annual cycle. Simchat Torah is Hebrew and means "rejoicing with the Torah".
During the morning, extracts from Deuteronomy and Genesis are read in the synagogue. Many communities may also have a Torah reading on the evening before Simchat Torah. During the services in the synagogue, the ark is opened, and the Torah scrolls are removed from the ark and paraded around the synagogue. Singing children follow the procession with candles and banners.
Originally Simchat Torah was simply the second day of Shemini Atzeret. Its significance as a separate celebration was not acknowledged until later.
In some southern parts of Europe the custom developed to remove the Torah scrolls from the ark, and to sing a separate hymn for each one. In northern Europe, it became common for those who had made readings to gave donations to the synagogue. By the start of the sixteenth century many Rabbis had allowed dancing in the synagogue during the festival.
In more modern times, Simchat Torah has become a celebration to assert a Jewish identity in public. In the Soviet Union, thousands of Jews would celebrate the festival in the streets. Dancing in the street with the Torah has also become part of the ritual in various Jewish communities across the United States.
The celebration of Simchat Torah has endured among many Jews who have shown declining interest in other aspects of Jewish observance.
In 1996, the Israel Postal Authority issued a postage stamp to honour the holiday.
*Like other Jewish holidays, Simchat Torah will begin at sundown on the previous day.