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Sh'mini Atzeret - Simchat Torah

Sh'mini Atzeret - Simchat Torah

8th Day of Sukkot and Simchat Torah
Holidays
Deuteronomy 33:1–34:12, Genesis 1:1–2:3

This is the blessing with which Moses, the man of God, bade the Israelites farewell before he died. - Deuteronomy 33:1

Summary: 

On Simchat Torah, the day on which we literally celebrate the Torah, we read the very end of Deuteronomy and the very beginning of Genesis. In the final verses of Torah, we read Moses’ blessing of the Israelites, offered before the prophet dies. Moses then ascends Mount Nebo, from which he sees the Promised Land and takes his final breath. God buries Moses and we are told there will never be another prophet like him. From this passage, we immediately begin our new cycle of Torah reading with the story of creation from the beginning of Genesis. And we create a new year of studying Torah. While each year we return to the same verses, it is we how are different. With each passing year, we grow and change, celebrate and mourn. And it is as if we are reading these sacred words for the very first time.

RECENT COMMENTARY

  • By Oren J. Hayon

    Death closes all: but something ere the end,

    Some work of noble note, may yet be done,

    Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.

    (Alfred, Lord Tennyson, "Ulysses," Poems, vol. 2, 1842)

    * * *

    Before the birth of virtually every significant male character in the Bible, extraordinary tales are told about how he was brought into being. But in Moses's case, the miracle stories are told not about his birth but about his death. The biblical scene recounting Moses's death is remarkable not only in its dramatic potency, but also because it delivers comfort and blessing along with its cargo of sorrow.

Sh'mini Atzeret - Simchat Torah commentaries

  • Torah for Tweens

    This week we complete the reading of the Book of D'varim (Deuteronomy) and immediately proceed to the beginning of B'reishit (Genesis), as is the practice on Simchat Torah, Festival of Rejoicing

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