Thursday, October 17, 2019

What Is Shemini Atzeret / Simchat Torah? and New Site Offers Free Access To Ancient Jewish Texts and old city tour 2 of 2

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works  with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money,  and spiritual engagement

In Hebrew the word שנה (shanah) also relates to the root

שונה - שנוי 


It means - change / transformation.


And Rosh Hashanah could be the starting point for anyone wishing to institute positive changes or even a profound transformation in his/her life in the coming year. 

Love Yehuda Lave

What Is Shemini Atzeret / Simchat Torah?

An overview of the traditions and customs of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah

In Short

When: Starts in the evening of October 20, and concludes after nightfall of Oct. 21, 2019 Lasts until 22nd out of Israel

What: The holiday of Sukkot is followed by an independent holiday called Shemini Atzeret. In Israel, this is a one-day holiday; in the Diaspora it is a two-day holiday, and the second day is known as Simchat Torah. This holiday is characterized by utterly unbridled joy, which reaches its climax on Simchat Torah, when we celebrate the conclusion—and restart—of the annual Torah-reading cycle.

How: These two days constitute a major holiday (yom tov), when most forms of work are prohibited. On the preceding nights, women and girls light candles, reciting the appropriate blessings, and we enjoy nightly and daily festive meals, accompanied by kiddush. We don't go to work, drive, write, or switch on or off electric devices. We are permitted to cook and to carry outdoors (unless it is also Shabbat).

Shemini Atzeret / Simchat Torah candle-lighting times
Learn the laws of yom tov

Shemini Atzeret

The first day, Shemini Atzeret, features the prayer for rain, officially commemorating the start of the Mediterranean (i.e., Israeli) rainy season, and the Yizkor prayer (supplicating G‑d to remember the souls of the departed).

We no longer take the Four Kinds, and we no longer mention Sukkot in the day's prayers; in the Diaspora, however, we do still eat in the sukkah (but without reciting the blessing on it).

How to celebrate Shemini Atzeret

Simchat Torah

The highlight of the second day, Simchat Torah ("The Joy of the Torah"), is the hakafot, held on both the eve and the morning of Simchat Torah, in which we march and dance with the Torah scrolls around the reading table in the synagogue. (In many synagogues, hakafot are conducted also on the eve of Shemini Atzeret.)

On this joyous day when we conclude the Torah, it is customary for every man to take part in the celebration by receiving an aliyah. The children, too, receive an aliyah!

After the final aliyah of the Torah, we immediately begin a new cycle from the beginning of Genesis (from a second Torah scroll); this is because as soon as we conclude studying the Torah, G‑d's infinite wisdom, on one level, we immediately start again, this time to discover new and loftier interpretations.

(In the Land of Israel, the celebration and customs of these two days are compressed into one day.)

How to celebrate Simchat Torah
What to expect at Simchat Torah services

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New: Site Offers Free Access To Ancient Jewish Texts

Many of world's most ancient religious texts online and available to the public for the first time at the British Library.

The British Library, the largest national library in the world by number of items cataloged, has for the first time ever put some of its rarest and most ancient religious texts online for the general public to be able to access them from around the world.

The unparalleled online collection titled 'Discovering Sacred Texts' includes some which subsequently became the authoritative texts for Jews around the world. They include one of the only copies of the Talmud that somehow escaped the public burnings suffered by most of the other Jewish law books during the Middle Ages and was left unmutilated or uncensored, the first complete printed text of the Mishnah, and the Gaster Bible, one of the earliest surviving Hebrew biblical codices, thought to have been created in Egypt around the 10th century CE.

Some of these over 250 texts, many available to the public for the first time, include Johann Gutenberg's Bible, probably the most famous Bible in the world and the earliest full-scale work printed in Europe using movable type, the earliest surviving copy of the complete New Testament, Codex Sinaiticus, which dates from the 4th century, and the Ma'il Qur'an, one of the very earliest Qur'ans in the world, dating back to the 8th century.

Discovering Sacred Texts provides access to the richness and diversity of the texts from the world's great faiths. Designed for Religious Education students, teachers, lifelong learners, and the general public, it features nine faiths: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, the Baha'i Faith and Zoroastrianism.

The project has been generously supported by Dangoor Education since its inception and by Allchurches Trust, alongside other funders.

"I am delighted to be involved in such an important and innovative project which will bring to the public for the first time some of the world's oldest and most sacred texts," said David Dangoor, head of Dangoor Education. "These texts form the bedrock of our human civilization and when compared and contrasted by their viewers will demonstrate that our sacred texts all speak a similar language of humanity, compassion and the norms of a fair and equitable society. They all have much to teach us and it is extremely welcome that they are now more accessible."

A curated selection of the spectacular collection items representing these faiths will be on physical display in the British Library's free, permanent Treasures Gallery to coincide with the launch of Discovering Sacred Texts.

"We are thrilled to be launching Discovering Sacred Texts, a new website drawing on the strength and diversity of the British Library's faith collections," Alex Whitfield, Head of Learning at the British Library, commented. "This site gives free access to an incredible range of texts, videos and curated articles relating to some of the world's major faiths, which we hope will provide an invaluable tool for students, teachers and lifelong learners all over the world."

Karen Armstrong, one of the world's leading authorities on faith and scriptures, will explore the relationship with holy texts in the modern world in a special event at the British Library on 17 October 2019 tied to the launch of the new resource.

Har HaMenuchos Cemetery In Yerushalayim Gets A Face Lift

The municipality of Yerushalayim is conducting construction and repair work on the Har HaMenuchot cemetery. The cost of the project is being estimated at 7 million NIS. The work, which is being carried out by the Moriah construction company, will include putting in a guard booth at the entrance, redong the road that winds through the Bais Hakvaros, renewing the staircases. Fixing sidewalks, and other smaller projects such as building shade stations for when Hespeidim are carried out by the Kevarim, have begun and will be part of the overall improvement of the site.

The financing for the operations will come from the Jerusalem Municipal council and from the Committee for the Betterment of Graveyards. During the first shift of work, most of it will be centralized around the main entrance. Special traffic arrangements are being put in place to ensure the safety of those still using the Bais Hakvaros.

Full Story (Yeshiva World News)

Old City Tour two of Two 091119

On a warm summer day in Elul, Shalom Pollock takes a small group of religious Jews on a spiritual walk through the old city. We learned new things and soaked up the holiness

See you tomorrow bli neder Shimini Atzaret and Simchat Torah start on Sunday night the 20th

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

PO Box 7335, Rehavia Jerusalem 9107202


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