A very happy Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah to our Jewish readers

Posted: October 20, 2011 in Popular Culture et al, Religion
Tags: , , , ,

Good yontiff to all! I trust you all enjoyed your High Holidays season.

The Torah

The last of the Jewish High Holidays for this year: now everyone can have a rest.

(I think that’s the right thing to say, but Jewish greetings are a complex mystery that makes the densest mysteries of the Kabbala look like an episode of Play School.)

Anyhow, when I put yontiff into my iPhone to send a greeting to a friend, predictive text corrected it to pontiff.

Conspiracy, much? The Vatican and Apple, secretly invading Jewish consciousness?

Frankly, I think the people should be told.

Atzeret-Simchat Torah

The day immediately following the end of the festival of Sukkot is a semi-independent holiday combining the sacred occasions of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. We refer to the combination as Atzeret-Sim­chat Torah. It is a final assembly day, formally ending the season of the High Holy Days. Atzeret-Simchat Torah is also the day on which we celebrate the renewal of the annual cycle of Torah readings. We read the final verses of Deuteronomy, then immediately recommence the cycle by reading the opening verses of Genesis. We mark the occasion with hakafot, joyous circuits of marching around the Temple with Torah scrolls, flags, and ban­ners. Children beginning their formal religious education are Consecrated on Atzeret-Simchat Torah. They are given miniature Torah scrolls as well as sugar cookies, baked in the shape of the Hebrew letter bet and covered with honey to symbolize the sweetness of studying our Jewish heritage. The letter bet is chosen because it is the first letter of the first word of the Torah, b’reishit, “in the beginning.”

  1. AliceMartin says:

    Great blog, sweetie! Keep it up!
    Alice Martin


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