Chag HaSimchah

We are nearing the end of our Jewish holiday season! From the prayers for a blessed New Year; to the joyous experience of having been forgiven on Yom Kippur; to Sukkot, the biblical, agricultural and historical festival, which is also called Chag HaSimchah, the joyous or happy holiday; to Simchat Torah, the celebration of ending and then beginning again the reading of the Torah, which we will observe this Friday evening.

Some people are “synagogued-out” by this point, meaning they have had “enough” of synagogue services. To me, that’s like saying I’ve had the entrée, who needs dessert? Simchat Torah is the culmination of this great joyous season. We end the cycle of Torah readings by chanting the last words in our Holy text. Then, just we start reading Torah over again, from the beginning, as if we never read it before. This is not hard to imagine because scholars, rabbis, and sages study Torah their entire lives and always discover new insights and understandings. I encourage you to come to Emeth Friday night to complete the holiday cycle by sharing a Beit Sefer (Religious School) sponsored dinner in our sukkah for the last time, and later services and celebrating and dancing with and around the Torahs. (Edited from a message sent in 2009)

Have a week of blessings and a Simchat Torah of great joy!

Rabbi Debbie Israel