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October 11, 2017
Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah
|Last Year (2016)||23rd October (evening ) to 24th October (evening )|
|Present Year (2017)||11th October (evening ) to 12th October (evening )|
|Next Year (2018)||30th September (evening ) to 1st October (evening )|
Shemini Atzeret “8th assembly day” is celebrated as 22nd of month of Hebrew of Tishrei. After 7 days of Sukkot, 8th day is celebrated as Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah (“Torah rejoicing”). Usually first day is considered to be Shemini Atzeret and next day as Simchat Torah as these 2 days are very precious.. On this day, work is not done. Atzeret word came from word atzar meaning to stop and people implement this to stop the work on this day. Simchat Torah is celebrated for the Public Torah’s annual cycle and starting of new cycle, started after Sukkot It is said to be retention day.
God ordered the Jews to celebrate as it is stated by Torah. It focuses in Jerusalem during 1st and 2nd temple periods. It’s a judgment day on which God judge people as they are worthy enough to receive the rainfall so that their crops grow. For this, people pray for rain namely “Tefillat Geshem” (means prayer for rain)
In Rabbinic literacy defines holidays as that nature is like a presenter who invites us all as a guest for only limited time but has to leave after a particular time. Nature invites people to stay for some extra day for more celebration. As the word says “I request you to stay for another day, my children as I don’t like to see you go. Day also include the image of “abiding” i.e extra day. This day is said to be yom tov aharon shel ha-hag or prayer for rain which run to parallel to prayer for dew in Passover.
Celebration: On this day, people read last portion of Torah and then check the Genesis’s 1st chapter which reminds that Torah is like a circle which never ends. People drink, sing and dance in the Synagogue along with Torahs. People do not consume lulav and estrog in these days. Children enjoy aliyah blessings and people take honor to carry Torah (too much heavy…) People store their sentiments, gratitude and devotion for the holiday season. They worship God for rain as for their crops.
On next day in Simchat Torah, People go to synagogue in morning and evening. In this fest, people go back to home after celebrating sukkah and have their meal at home. One and only festival in which from ark Torah scrolls in the seven hakafot series is kept out and people read it in evening. Each torah scroll is sounded in melodious voice praying God to save them People dance and sing for several hours along with this. Ladies prefer to dance in a circle with their partners. Children are given aliyah, candies and flags on this day. Hard liquor is served. Hakafot ceremony is done on this day in which people have March past, dance and sing around the synagogue
Let’s see this year what miracle happens whether it rain after Shemini Atzeret!