Sukkot & Simchat Torah

The Feast of Sukkot or ‘Tabernacles’ is the seventh and final feast spoken of in Leviticus 23 and is known by several names[1], including: Hag Hasuccot (“Feast of Tabernacles” or “Booths”; Lev 23:34), Hag Adonai (“Feast of the Lord” Lev 23:39), Hag Haasiph (“Feast of the Ingathering” Ex 23:16), Hag (“Feast” I Kg. 8:2), Zman Simchateinu (“the season of our rejoicing” a rabbinic name), Yom Hashvii Shel Aravah (“the seventh day of the willow”),  Hoshana Rabba (“save us in the highest”) Shmini Atzeret (“the eighth day of the assembly” Lev 23:36)[2], Simchat Torah (“the rejoicing of the Law”). In biblical practice Sukkot was a seven day feast that was celebrated by the building of booths (Heb. succah) or tabernacles to commemorate the forty years of Wilderness Wanderings.

Simchat Torah is a rabbinic term for the eighth day based on Numbers 29:35-38. It is called Simchat Torah because the cycle of the reading of the Law both ends and begins again in the synagogue on this occasion. In the synagogue service, there is a recitation from the Mosaic Law on a regular basis: every Sabbath and also on special holy days. The Mosaic Law has been divided into fifty-two parts so that the entire Mosaic Law is read within one year’s time. On this occasion, the eighth day of the Feast of Succoth or Tabernacles, they finish reading Deuteronomy and immediately begin to read the first several verses of Genesis.

Simchat Torah 2012 begins Monday evening (Oct 8) and ends Tuesday evening (Oct 9).

[1] This post is a modified version of Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s original Messianic Bible Study. The full version may be obtained here.

[2] Technically, it is considered an independent holiday from the Feast of Tabernacles, but it comes immediately afterward and is thus always connected with the Feast. It is this eighth day that marks the end of all the festivities and observances of the Feast of Tabernacles, although the laws of the Feast of Tabernacles do not apply to it.

One thought on “Sukkot & Simchat Torah

  1. I think one scripture that speaks to infants beings in heaven upon death is confirmed in 2 Samuel 12:23 where when David was asked why he was no longer grieving he said, in part, “I shall go to him, but he will not return to me”.

    Respectfully submitted

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