Shalom y'all, and welcome to this week’s edition of Better Know a Jewish Holiday: Simchat Torah! The fightin’ Torah Turnaround!!
So let’s break this down. First of all, there’s not a great literal translation for the word Torah (TOH-rah).
It’s commonly translated as “The Law,” but really what we’re talking about are the first five books of the Bible. Translated literally, the Hebrew names for those five books would be: In the Beginning, Names, And He Called, In the Desert, and Things.
You probably know them as Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Today I learned through the magic of Google that Leviticus comes from the Greek “Relating to the Levites” (lots of laws in that one) and Deuteronomy means “The second law” because it’s pretty much a recap of the first four books.
Jews read a bit of the Torah every week in synagogue/temple. Each section that we read is called a Parsha and is usually a few chapters long.
This year, I’ve committed to actually read the Parsha (par-SHAH or PAR-shuh, depending on how Israeli/American you want to sound) every week and will be putting a fun and gif-filled recap up on this website for your edification.
Anyway, back to the matter at hand: Simchat Torah is the big party we throw when we get to the end of the Torah and all have the exact same feeling:
To celebrate the ending and beginning of the Torah, we dance and sing with the scrolls, and of course:
Simchat Torah will be celebrated Monday night and Tuesday, so throw one (or a few) back in honor of Moses and his five books that started it all.
Chag Sameach! (Happy Holiday!)