"Come, bless YHWH, all you servants of YHWH,
Who stand by night in the house of YHWH!
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
And bless YHWH."
Tonight begins the last Sabbath of the Feast of Tabernacles! It is "Simchat Torah", or "Rejoicing in the Torah". In my mind, I am transported to the Western Wall of Jerusalem, where I had the immense privilege (back in the '80's) to attend two different years for Sukkot.
It was unforgettable! The Wall is the main gathering place for all the Orthodox families in the city...Under the starry sky, great floodlights illumine the entire area as the men twirl, bob up and down and weave to and fro in vibrant line dances. At the head of each line, two men lift high on their shoulders the Torah scrolls from their synagogues, richly wrapped in velvet and gold or silver embroidery.
Little kids frolic about freely; everyone is family tonight. A few little ones begin gleefully dislodging little wadded prayers from between the cracks of the gigantic stones and tossing them about the pavement. No one seems to mind; all the more room for the fresh prayers of the next Torah cycle. Daddies are found and tugged upon as they dance, swinging their darlings up to ride on their shoulders, to the rhythmic chanting of ancient songs. The women gather on the sidelines, waving, shouting and making festive party noises with their tongues: "Le-le-le-le-le-le! R-r-r-r-r-r-r!" In the balmy night, this joyous atmosphere seems to bubble from deep below the Wall and spread like a shimering mantle over the entire city.
Here in northern New Hampshire, my tummy rests content, recently feasted upon chicken stir-fry and ice cream. My Sabbath candles are lit, my songs are sung. The joy at the Western Wall, seven times zones ahead and now quiet, has managed to waft across an ocean to fill my little room as the New England sky turns all autumn-dark and sparkly. I think of you, my dear friends near and far, united with me in Messiah, and revel in the sense of Father's blessing upon our love.
I pray for you all the joy I feel in His Presence tonight.
YHWH, who made the heavens and the earth
Blesses you from Tsiyon!" (Psalm 134)
Dear Sherry, you write so well, you had me transported right along with you. I had no idea how this event would be celebrated in Jerusalem. Now, I've "experienced" it, thanks to your lovely word pictures. Thank you!