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Simchat Torah – The Joy of My Heart

September 27, 2021


It is good and just.
It is trustworthy and faithful.
It is firm. Boundless. Eternal.
It is true and right, thoroughly tested.
It is wonderful and delightful.
It is sweeter than honey.
It is more precious than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.

So says the writer of Psalm 119. What does he speak of? The Word of God.

Simchat Torah means “Joy of the Torah.” It is a holiday set aside to celebrate the gift of God’s Word. Jewish people stay up through the night reading the Torah, and in synagogue services the next morning, congregants parade the Torah scroll around the room, dancing, leaping and shouting with joy. Worshipers make many circuits to allow as many people as possible to carry the Torah scroll.

Simchat Torah marks the completion of the annual reading cycle that takes us through the first five books of the Bible in a year. Jewish people the world over follow the same weekly reading plan. In synagogue services on Simchat Torah, we read the final Torah portion, or parasha, and then immediately read Genesis chapter one to remind us that our need for God’s Word is endless. As the weekly reading cycle starts over with the first parasha, we begin another year of reflecting on the very words of the Lord Almighty.

In its most literal sense, the Torah refers to the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy), written by Moses. As the word Torah, in Hebrew, means “instruction,” its broader interpretation encompasses the entire Word of God.

God is our Rock. He is true and good, and He loves us beyond comprehension. We know this because of His Word. Scripture anchors us to the Lord in truth. It shows us who He is, what He has done for us and what He will do one day to restore all things. There is hope in God’s Word. There is great joy on its pages and within its lines.

On Simchat Torah, take some time to reflect on the incredible gift given to you in God’s Word. Open it up and pray along with Asaph, who said in Psalm 119:18, “Open my eyes, so I may behold wonders from Your Torah.” May the Word of God be your delight and the joy of your heart forever (Psalm 119:77 and 111).

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