Simchat Torah

Data/Images/simchat_torah_s.jpgSimchat Torah is a component of the Biblical Jewish holiday of Shemini Atzeret ("Eighth Day of Assembly"), which follows immediately after the festival of Sukkot in the month of Tishrei. Simchat Torah or Simhath Torah (also Simkhes Toreh, Hebrew: שִׂמְחַת תורָה, lit., "Rejoicing with/of the Torah,") is a celebration marking the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings, and the beginning of a new cycle.

The Simchat Torah festivities begin with the evening service. All the synagogue's Torah scrolls are removed from the ark and are carried around the sanctuary in a series of seven hakafot (circuits). Although each hakafa need only encompass one circuit around the synagogue, the dancing and singing with the Torah often continues much longer, and may overflow from the synagogue onto the streets.

In the 20th century, Simchat Torah came to symbolize the public assertion of Jewish identity.

Since Simchas Torah is a celebration of the Torah, songs regarding the greatness of Torah and the Jews' relationship with the Torah are generally sung.

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