Simchat Torah, Hebrew for “the joy of Torah,” celebrates the completion of the annual reading of the Torah. Simchat Torah comes at the end of the fall harvest holiday of Sukkot.
Simchat Torah is a joyous festival, in which we affirm our view of the Torah as a tree of life and demonstrate a living example of never-ending, lifelong study. Torah scrolls are taken from the ark and carried around the synagogue. We dance with each and with the Torahs as an expression of our joy.
During the Torah service, the concluding section of Devarim (Deuteronomy) is read, and immediately following, we read the opening section of Bereishit (Genesis).
In our community, it is our custom to unroll the entire scroll and to read the last word of Torah and the first word of Torah in a single breath to demonstrate our ongoing study of and dedication to the words of Torah.