Praise the LORD.
Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
who finds great delight in his commands.—Psalm 112:1
As the Jewish people complete the reading of the Torah and get ready to begin the cycle anew, they celebrate with a holiday known as Simchat Torah — which literally means “Rejoicing with the Torah.” This is one of six devotions exploring the themes and lessons that are found in this holiday. Discover more about the Jewish view of the Bible from Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein’s DVD Bible study on the Torah.
Everybody loves a party, especially when we have a reason to celebrate—the birth of a child, a marriage, a graduation or job promotion, a special holiday or birthday. But have you ever celebrated reading through the Bible?
Every year, Jews around the world celebrate Simchat Torah, which literally means “rejoicing in the Torah.” It is a celebration of the completion of reading through the Torah over the previous year. You see, every Sabbath in synagogues around the world, Jews participate in public readings of the Torah, which comprises the first five books of the Bible. We begin with Genesis Chapter 1, and finish with Deuteronomy’s closing words. When the annual cycle of readings is completed, it’s time to celebrate! And then begin the annual cycle all over again.
And, indeed, it is a joyous celebration. All the Torah scrolls are taken out of the Ark and carried around the sanctuary seven times. There’s singing and dancing, and everyone is involved, from our eldest member to our children, who lead the procession.
Simchat Torah not only is a demonstration of love of God’s Word and our gratefulness to God for giving us the gift of the Bible, but it also is a reminder for us that learning and studying God’s Word never ends—it is a lifelong process because there is always more to understand. In fact, the Hebrew term for a great Torah scholar is talmid chakham, which means “wise student.”
But you don’t need to complete a set reading to rejoice in God’s Word. In Psalm 112, the psalmist gives us plenty of reasons to celebrate when we “delight” in God’s Word. Consider just a few of the reasons he gives: our children will be successful and an entire generation will be blessed (v. 2); we will enjoy prosperity and a reputation of righteousness (v. 3); we will not be fearful because we trust in the Lord (v. 4); and we’ll enjoy honor and influence (v.9).
Take some time this week to reflect on the benefits you have received from spending time in God’s Word. Celebrate the many reasons you have to rejoice.
For more on Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein’s teaching about the Bible as the bedrock of our faiths, visit ifcj.org/store for his four-part DVD Bible Study, The Jewish Roots of God’s Word — perfect for a small groups, Sunday school, or individual study.
Won't you join The Fellowship in supporting Israel and her people, and in helping fulfill prophecy?