Friday, October 9, 2009

Simchat Torah


Today was the festive day called Hoshana Rabba. To see the throngs of worshippers at the Western Wall please see my post from last year.
Tonight and tomorrow, immediately following the 7-day Sukkot festival, we have Simchat Torah (meaning "Rejoicing of the Torah"). In the synagogue the annual Torah reading cycle is completed and begun anew. The end of the fifth book of Moses is read, the scroll is rewound, and the first part of Genesis is chanted.
As the Chabad website says, "The event is marked with great rejoicing, especially during the 'hakafot' procession, in which we march, sing and dance with the Torah scrolls around the reading table in the synagogue. 'On Simchat Torah,' goes the chassidic saying, 'we rejoice in the Torah, and the Torah rejoices in us; the Torah, too, wants to dance, so we become the Torah's dancing feet.'"

At Hadassah hospital's synagogue the Torah scrolls stand in this Holy Ark.

The ark doors are covered by a parochet.

This very special ark covering was designed and created by American-Israeli artist Aviva Green in 1981-82.

The stylized Hebrew calligraphy says "Da lifne mi ata omed," the exhortation "Know before whom you stand."

The Torah is opened and read on the reading table in the center of the synagogue. Here, too, the artist created a soft sculpture to cover the table, in wool, cotton, silk, hemp, and metallic thread. It can be seen better, without the glass, in a slideshow at the artist's website.

The artist explains in just a few wonderful paragraphs how she came to the ideas for her Two-Piece Soft Sculpture.

And above it all are the twelve glorious stained glass windows by Marc Chagall!
For more about the vitrage work please see my earlier post.
Shabbat shalom and happy Simchat Torah!


Jew Wishes said...

What another wonderful photo journey you have taken us on. I love the history behind your photography.

The Ark covering is absolutely beautiful.

Shabbat Shalom! Chag sameach!

Sara said...

Your posts are always fascinating and I learn something. It was a special treat for me to see those Chagall windows again...I have sat in that room with a crowd of other tourists as someone explained each window to us. They are breathtaking.
I am getting very "homesick" for Jerusalem whenever I come here to visit...

Cloudia said...

Shabbat Shalom!

Let us dance in the tradition, accross continents and accross time.

Glad to celebrate with you, Dina

Aloha, Friend!

Comfort Spiral

Eki Qushay Akhwan said...

Shall or can I say Happy Hoshana Rabba? (What do you usually say to each other in this day of festival?)

Do you read the Torah everyday? Are there any prescription as to how many verses should be read per day so that it will be completed within a year?

Anyway, it's always a fascinating read when you're posting about Jewish traditions because I don't know much about it.

Thanks, Dina.

Pietro said...

Dina, your world is so beautiful and interesting. Thanks for sharing. The windows by Chagall are thrilling!

Yaelian said...

Lovely pictures Dina and Chag Sameach!

RuneE said...

Again much information that was new to me, but forgive if I fell for the windows by Chagall. Wish they were mine ;-)

Kay said...

I love seeing all these gorgeous and spiritual works of art.

Dina said...

Shalom everyone and thanks for your nice comments. It is fun to share the beauty that is all around us, which we often take for granted because it is just there all the time.

Sara, hope you can get back to Jerusalem again someday. These days the guided tours of the Chagall windows are played on a tape. You can choose your language.

Eki, the general greeting on the holidays (or at least the happy ones) is Chag saMEH-ach, meaning just Happy holiday.

The Torah (Pentateuch) is divided into 54 readings, each called a parasha. Each week has its own scheduled parasha. And to it is added a selected portion from the Prophets section of the Bible.

The public reading of the Torah is done on Shabbat (Saturday), Monday, and Thursday. Monday and Thursday were shuk days, when in ancient Israel people would come to the market to buy food and also to hear the reading of the Torah.

The cycle is completed in one year in Orthodox synagogues. But I think most Liberal Jewish congregations are on a 3-year cycle.

This public reading (chanting) of the Torah should be in addition to one daily STUDY of Torah.

Eki Qushay Akhwan said...

Thank you for the excellent explanation, Dina. And thank you for visiting my other weblog. I put whatever comes to mind in it - small notes -, sometimes in Indonesian, sometimes in English.

Eki Qushay Akhwan said...

oh, and Chag Sameah! (Selamat hari raya!)

Reader Wil said...

Very new and interesting to me! Thanks for sharing this with us. I love the stained glass windows by Chagall! The colours are stunning!

Dick said...

Those windows are wonderful, interesting things about the Torah, I didn't understand all of it but that's because of my poor english,lol. Nice post.

mirae said...

Dina dear this is a beautiful presentation, yes I have commented on the glorious light play of Chagall's stained glass and I love the work by Green.
The textile idea was beautiful.It gives warmth to the synagogue like she claims. THe walls were naked she said and the light play is glorious having more than one dimension but this idea of having something palpable for the soul is beautiful because there are many folds to prayer.

love and light shalom

mirae said...

Also Dina I have to add that unless I misinterpreted this synagogue is in a chapel and you know Dina the most beautiful art in my canadian city is in one of our hospitals.
If I go to visit someone a consolation is always to view the art and it is really like being in an art gallery.

I love the art you show us from jerusalem and your art of presenting it....

mirae said...

and so what I meant to say was this is a catholic hospital and there is a strong mix of religion and art and that is always transforming.

thanks for the post with the most.

Mediterranean kiwi said...

i love the look of the parochet - very intricate designs...

spacedlaw said...

That cover is an amazing piece of work.