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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Israel Series at HebrewPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Israeli holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 11, Simchat Torah.
Simchat Torah - שמחת תורה (simhat torah) is a holiday celebrated by observant Jews. It marks the end of the yearly Torah-reading cycle, and the beginning of a new cycle. On this day, the last section of the Torah is recited, and immediately afterwards, the first section of the Torah is recited. Worshippers celebrate the end of the cycle with energetic songs and dances.
Now, before we get into more detail, I've got a question for you-
What do you called the person with the privilege of reciting the last section of the Torah?
If you don't already know, keep listening! The answer will be revealed at the end of this lesson!
Every week in the synagogue - בית כנסת (beit ke’neset), one section is recited. The reading cycle lasts a year, and Simchat Torah is the day that the cycle is completed, when the last section is recited, and when the first section is recited once again. Worshippers celebrate the end of the reading. People young and old participate in the festivities including young children, too. The holiday begins with the ancient tradition of marking the end of the Torah reading with a festive meal.
The main event of this holiday is the reading of the Torah, and in honor of the holiday, even children participate. The festivities culminate in the rounds - הקפות (Hakafot), when the Torah scrolls are removed from the Holy Ark and lifted. Singing and dancing, those holding the scrolls circumnavigate the altar of the synagogue seven times or more. Before the Hakafot, various verses from the Tanach or - תנ”ך in Hebrew meaning “the Old Testament” are recited. Most are about thanking God. The Hakafot ceremony is conducted several times throughout the holiday.
In Modern Israel, many worshippers take the celebration out to the streets and to other public areas. They involve passersby as they sing and dance ecstatically. This tradition is called Hakafot Shniyot - הקפות שניות or “second Hakafot”, and it is conducted at the end of the holiday. In some cities, the Hakafot are accompanied by public figures and musical ensembles.
Outside of Israel, Jews of the diaspora celebrate the holiday of Simchat Torah on the 23rd of Tishrei, one day after it is celebrated in Israel.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
What do you call the person with the privilege of reciting the final section of the Torah?
The sections of the Torah are recited in the synagogue by members of the community. The person who is given the privilege of reciting the end of the last section of the Torah scroll is called the Chatan Torah - חתן תורה.
How was this lesson? Did you learn something interesting? Would you like to participate in Simchat Torah festivities as well?
Leave a comment letting us know at HebrewPod101.com, and we'll see you in the next lesson!


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

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Monday at 06:30 PM
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Would you like to participate in Simchat Torah festivities as well?

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Friday at 07:47 PM
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Hi Shelley,

Thank you for your message!

We're glad you're advancing in your Hebrew learning! :)

Please count on us for helping out with any doubts you have!



Team HebrewPod101.com

Saturday at 10:16 AM
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Great! Peak was a new word I wanted to try out. In this sentence some, meaning some people, must have worked. And I feel that the word "the" is not so daunting-I'm getting the hang of it. Small steps keep building towards the final goal. Thanks for the confidence boost-three thumbs up!

Hebrewpod101.com Verified
Friday at 10:06 PM
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Hi Shelley,

Thanks for commenting! good work, your translation is correct :)




Team Hebrewpod101.com

Thursday at 09:25 PM
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For some, the peak of the holiday is when the community dances with the orchestra.

עבור כמה שיא החג הוא כאשר הקהילה רוקדת עם התזמורת