Simchat Torah is a joyous celebration of completing the study of God’s Word in the Torah (the first five books of the Bible), marking the end of the yearly Torah portion readings and the beginning of the cycle anew.
Simchat Torah is closely linked with another holiday, Shemini Atzeret. Shemini Atzeret means “the assembly of the eighth (day),” and follows the seventh day of Sukkot. Rabbinic teaching describes this holiday of the eighth day, saying “God is like a host, who invites us as visitors for a limited time, but when the time comes for us to leave, He has enjoyed Himself so much that He asks us to stay another day” (Jewish Virtual Library).
Simchat Torah means “rejoicing with the Torah,” and outside of Israel, it is celebrated the day after Shemini Atzeret. During the morning service, the last portion of Deuteronomy is read, and in the evening, the new cycle of yearly Torah readings begins with the first portion of Genesis.
As the name reveals, Simchat Torah is a time to celebrate God’s Word. Festive processions through the synagogue include dancing and joyous singing while as many people as possible are allowed the honor of carrying a Torah scroll.
As Believers in Yeshua – whether Messianic Jews or Gentiles – Simchat Torah is a wonderful time for us to remember the priceless value we have in the Bible. God Most High has spoken to us. The Creator of all things wants to communicate to each one of us. He gave us His Word, and He gave us His Son, Yeshua.
What if one day you couldn’t have a Bible? Imagine not knowing the display of God’s faithfulness found in the Torah. Imagine being without the comfort of the Psalms, the encouragement of Romans, or the powerful accounts of Yeshua’s life, death, and resurrection.
If that day were ever to come, we would then feel the worth of God’s Word in a way known right now by many persecuted Believers throughout the world. Those deprived of Bibles hunger for God’s words, and thirst to know what He has said.
The Bible is His living, miraculous Word to us. Simchat Torah is a reminder of what a precious gift God’s Word is to us. Let us celebrate! Let us open His communication to us and see what He has for us today!