Sunday is our final fall festival: Sh’mini Atzeret … also Simchat Torah
By Les’a Cole
At CFS, we read through the Torah, the first 5 Books of the Bible, each year. At the conclusion of the 12-month reading cycle, there is a celebration! This is called Simchat Torah, rejoicing in the Torah. Messianic Believers and Jews all over the world rejoice in concluding the reading of the Torah.
It is believed that Ezra, who lived in Babylon during the 4th century B.C. (Before Christ), established a systematic reading of Torah to counter the illiteracy of the Jewish people. During the Babylonian captivity, synagogues were begun and served as houses of study. There, weekly readings were read. During the time of the apostles at the Council at Jerusalem, the Apostle James gave the directive that the Gentiles who were turning to God were to continue attending synagogue and listening to the Torah portions.
“…For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.” Acts 15:21.
From the Babylonian captivity through today, each week every synagogue all over the world reads the exact same passage or portion of Scripture on the same day. This portion or section of Scripture is called the Torah portion or Parashah. The Torah has been divided into 54-weekly readings (plus special festival passages). Each designated reading is between two and six chapters in length. Additionally, there are readings from the Haftarah (selected readings from the prophets) and as Messianic Believers, we also include portions from the Apostolic Scriptures (the New Testament).
Is it important for us, as 21st century Believers, to continue this tradition of reading the Torah? Absolutely. Paul encouraged Timothy (1 Timothy 4:13) to devote himself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. The “public reading of Scripture” referred to the weekly Parashah readings. We know this because, all Believers attended synagogues (there were no churches at that time). And, secondly, because the systematic reading cycle had begun about 400 years prior to the Apostles and has continued until today.
What does this do for us? The reading of the Word develops faith in us. As Paul said, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Messiah.,” Romans 10:17, TLV.
ACTION PLAN: Let’s each commit to consistently reading Scripture every week!
“Mighty God, You have met with us each week – thank You for Your intervention into our lives; for Your precious Holy Days. We love You – our Lord and Saviour! Help each of us to be faithful and steadfast in reading Your Word. Transform our lives into Your image and likeness. We bless You, our King. Be with those who are struggling – heal their bodies and minds. Heal marriages and family relationship. Bring Your peace to J’lem and to Your Land. Turn Americans to You. In the precious Name of our Messiah, Yeshua, we pray.”
IMMEDIATE Prayer Requests:
- USA: Wisdom for our leadership, their health, and their direction. Prayer for their safety.
- Prayer for total healing for Tere, Joan, Rob, Jake, and Jessica. Plus all who are struggling physically.
- Israel: peace and righteousness.
- Protection of the persecuted church.
- Pray for healing and direction of the US
- Pray for Israel!
- Protection of the persecuted church
Prayer for our soldiers and those in uniform: that they might be spiritually, mentally, physically, & emotionally
I love the way you simplified this Simchat Torah and the origins to the Readings, Les’a. It is amazing how this helps me reach loved ones that think I’m out on a limb by myself without substance and pastoring accountability. Thank you SO MUCH! The fields are white and ready for The LORD of the harvest, and we must correct the old wives tales and falsehoods.