From Eilat in the south to Kiryat Shemona in the north, Israelis on Thursday marked Simchat Torah, the annual rejoicing in the giving of God’s Word to their ancestors.
The festival brings to a conclusion the biblical High Holy Days that began with Rosh Hashanah and ran through the recently concluded Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot.
It is fitting that the High Holy Days end in a day of rejoicing over the Torah, the cornerstone of God’s Word. In the five Books of Moses, God revealed His will and determination for the nation of Israel.
This special day is celebrated with parades in which Torah scrolls are lifted up and read aloud for all to hear. The highlight of the Simchat Torah service is the reading of the final annual Torah portion, and a return to the very first chapter of Genesis to start the whole Bible-reading cycle over again.
Simchat Torah is also celebrated by Messianic and Christian congregations across Israel, though with a slightly different tone, for we also rejoice in the fact that Yeshua the Messiah has fulfilled the Torah: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17)