Some communities celebrate The holiday at the end of Sukkot, during which are recited prayers for rain. Rain figures prominently as God’s blessing in the arid land of Israel. and The holiday at the end of Sukkot during which Jews dance with the Torah late into the night. The yearly reading cycle of the Torah is completed and a new cycle is begun. Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah mark the end of the holiday season. In some congregations, the Torah scroll is unrolled in its entirety, and selected verses are read or sections noted. on two separate days; in other communities they are combined. Either way, this grand finale to the fall holiday season comes with a wide array of themes and practices. It culminates with a raucous celebration of Jewish learning and Jewish community, as we dance with the The Five Books of Moses, and the foundation of all of Jewish life and lore. The Torah is considered the heart and soul of the Jewish people, and study of the Torah is a high mitzvah. The Torah itself a scroll that is hand lettered on parchment, elaborately dressed and decorated, and stored in a decorative ark. It is chanted aloud on Mondays, Thursdays, and Shabbat, according to a yearly cycle. Sometimes “Torah” is used as a colloquial term for Jewish learning and narrative in general. scrolls and read both the end and the beginning of the Torah on the very same day.
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