05 October 2017

Simchat Torah: Rejoicing in the Word

Did you know that the whole Torah is read every year in Jewish synagogues around the world?  


The Torah is the collective name of the first five books of Moses: Genesis (Hebrew name: Beresheet); Exodus (Shemot); Leviticus (Vayikra); Numbers (BaMidbar) and Deuteronomy (D’varim). The Torah is divided into portions called ‘Parasha’ that are read consecutively in the synagogues during the weekly Shabbat (Saturday) service. The annual reading cycle finishes and then begins afresh on Simchat Torah. In the Diaspora (Jewish communities outside of Israel), Simchat Torah often follows the eighth day of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) but in Israel and in many Reform congregations, Simchat Torah celebrations are held on the eight day of Sukkot combining the two celebrations.  

The main celebration of Simchat Torah takes place in the synagogue. The Torah scroll is taken out of the ‘Ark’ - a special cabinet, often highly decorated, that holds and protects the scrolls. When the Ark is opened and the Torah scroll brought out, the worshippers leave their seats and dance and sing with the Torah scroll in a joyous processional celebration. 

The last Parasha (portion) of Deuteronomy and the first Parasha of Genesis are read aloud on Simchat Torah, beginning the cycle of readings once again. 


PARASHAT HA-SHAVUAH (Torah Portion of the Week)


READ THE TORAH IN A YEAR


The Torah is divided up into ‘Parasha’ (which is Hebrew for ‘portion or section’). The title is taken from the first word or two of each portion in the original Hebrew. A Parasha is read each week in synagogue services around the world.  Each Parasha reading includes related passages called ‘Haftarah’. Messianic Congregations also follow the Parashat HaShavuah (Portion of the Week) and add additional passages from the New Testament. Here is the Parashat HaShavuah reading plan up until Hanukkah 2017. As you read each passage, pray for the Jewish synagogues that will be reading and studying the same bible passage. Pray that Yeshua will reveal himself as Messiah through the pages of the scriptures. 

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword...” Hebrews 4:12