All that you have is your soul (Tracy Chapman).

Sunday, 15 October 2006

Season's End

Well, this evening saw the end of the festivities with the first stars announcing the return of normality to our daily lives.

I enjoy the Jewish festivals a lot. Starting with the New Year (Rosh Hashanah) on the first day of the Hebrew month of Tishri, we enter a time of reflection that doesn't really end until the 23rd of the month (or if you are in Israel, the 22nd) as we finish reading the fifth book of the Bible (Deuteronomy) and immediately flick back to the birth of the universe in Genesis.

However, too much of good thing is never healthy and so, now, we are ready to face the new year in the hope that it will be a damn sight better than the one we've just left.

The festival of Simchat Torah (literally "rejoicing in the Torah") is floating away as I write (unless you're reading this in the US!) and I feel a rush of relief that once again, I've come through the holidays...and can enjoy the other pleasures that life has to offer (like a full weekend!)

2 comments:

HoosierGirl5 said...

Wow. Being Catholic I know absolutely nothing about Jewish holiday, but I have read Deuteronomy and Genesis.
Interesting stuff.
J.

The Teacher said...

The way it works is that each Saturday (Shabbat) morning, we read a portion of the Bible in chronological order.

It takes us 54 weeks (through the lunar calendar) to go from the start of Genesis to the death of Moses. We finish off the fifth book and re-start the first on the very same day (Simchat Torah) to show that the Torah (i.e. the five books of Moses) is infinite, like a circle that has no start or end.

On Simchat Torah, we read about Moses' blessings to the tribes and his subsequent death. We then start Genesis and only read about the creation (i.e. all seven days)

On the first Shabbat after the festival, we start reading again from the very first verse until the time when G-d was about to bring on the flood. Then, on the next Shabbat, we read about the flood and so on.

If you would like to see how we split up the five books into weekly portions, please go to this site:

http://www.jewfaq.org/readings.htm