Monday, October 1, 2018

Simchat Torah

Simchat Torah

Simchat Torah (Rejoicing with the Torah), also know as Shimini Atzret (The Eight Day) 
Lev. 23:33-36 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD. On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein.

“On Simchat Torah, the Torah wants to dance, but lacking the physical 
limbs with which to do so, it employs the body of the Jew. On this day, 
the Jew becomes the dancing feet of the Torah.” 
-        The Lubavitcher Rebbe 

When I was a Christian going to a very conservative Bible College, our campus was right next door to an Orthodox Synagogue. I decided to go one Shabbat incognito just to observe and learn. When I saw the Torah Procession, and I saw everyone touching and kissing the Torah scroll all bedecked with crowns and a priestly breastplate, in my Christian thinking I was saddened, thinking that they were worshipping the Torah scroll.  However, little did I know at the time that the Torah is the Divine Law of the Malkut Shemayim, and the Olam Habba (The Kingdom of Heaven and the World to Come). It supposed to rule every aspect of our daily lives because it is the expressed will of ADONAI. Walking in the Torah of ADONAI there is no “secular” and “sacred” moments, all is sacred, everything becomes a divine moment to carry out ADONAI’s will. I failed to recognize back then that the Torah represents the Priestly and Kingly Messiah of Yeshua who is the Living manifestation of the Written Torah (John 1). Now I know that out of respect of the Law and of the future reign of Messiah, we dress the Torah in a Priestly and Kingly garment and pledge ourselves to walk in the Path of Torah which is nothing less than the path of Messiah.

II Sam. 6:14And David danced before the L-RD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.
 15So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the L-RD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet.
 16And as the ark of the L-RD came into the city of David, Michal Saul's daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the L-RD; and she despised him in her heart.
20Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!
 21And David said unto Michal, It was before the L-RD, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel: therefore will I play before the L-RD.  (KJV)

The Ark of the Covenant contained a summary of the Torah, the Tablets containing the Ten Commandments.  The Ark upon which the Divine Presence of ADONAI would rest, between the Keruvim (Cherubim) of the lid of the Ark and thus represented the Throne of ADONAI, which in turn represents the reign of the Kingly Priest Yeshua Ha Moshiach, the Living Manifestation of the Written Torah.

Allow me to quote from a friend:

“Pay attention to the public reading of the Scriptures (1 Timothy 4:13).
A fitting close to the fall Holy Days is the joyful celebration called Simchat Torah (the Joy of the Law). Although it is not part of the Leviticus 23 list of feasts, Simchat Torah was designated as a time to celebrate the completion of the annual cycle of Scripture readings chanted each week in our synagogues. While some believers may find it curious to rejoice in the Law, our people have always found joy in knowing that we have been entrusted with the words of HaShem (God; literally, "the Name"). In fact, the word Torah is properly translated as "teaching" or "instruction" (from the Hebrew root horah), which tells us the precise purpose of the Scroll.

When properly understood, the Torah should be viewed not as some negative legal system, but as God's instructions for living a life blessed by him. For this reason, the Lord commanded Moshe (Moses), at the end of his ministry, to teach a portion of the Torah to Israel in its chanted form (Deuteronomy 31:19), a tradition which continues to this day.

From the above passage, we are also reminded that public reading of Scripture was a part of worship in the Messianic synagogues of the first century. Timothy, a young congregational leader, is exhorted to give attention to the public reading of the Scriptures.

The Word of God must always be before us if we are to know God's will and how to accomplish it. Certainly, we can rejoice that we have the instruction of God in his Word!” – Voice of the LORD devotional

So let us loose ourselves in the Joy of the Torah (Simchat Torah)!

By the way, in Hebrew the word, Simcha, which means Joy can also spell two other very important Hebrew words that are inseparable to this day of Simchat Torah. Switch the letters of Simcha in Hebrew around and you get, Chamesh, meaning, Five, meaning the Five Books of Moshe (Moese), The Torah! Rearrange the words again and you get Moshiach, Messiah! So in other words you can’t have Joy without Torah, and without the Torah you can’t have the Messiah!

Let us loose ourselves in the Joy of the Torah (Simchat Torah) which is the culmination of the Fall Festivals of Rosh Ha Shannah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. Let’s allow ourselves look like a fool in the eyes of the world just as David Ha Melek (The King). Let nothing stand in our way in celebration of the Torah.

A New Year has come, Atonement has been made and sealed, ADONAI and Messiah have met with us this week to celebrate.  Now, let us rejoice and dance before Him!

Kris Shoemaker - Yehudah ben Shomeyr