In Israel Simchat Torah (Joy of the Torah) is celebrated on the day of Shmini Atzeret, and outside the day after. This shows that they are not the same holidays and both have their own importance.
Shmini Atzeret, although an independent feast, is the 8th day of Sukkot. The number 7 indicates the natural world, and therefore we see that on all the days of Sukkot, the priests also sacrificed bulls for the all the nations.
On Shmini Atzeret, the 8 day which represents the time outside the natural order, only 1 bull was sacrificed. This one was only for the Jewish people. As G-d's people, they are outside the natural order of the world and are on a direct spiritual level with G-d. See Sukkot as a great feast at which G-d, Israel and all the nations are present. When all the guests/peoples are gone, G-d wants 1 more day of celebration with His beloved nation. This indicates that it is not appropriate for Noahides to celebrate this holiday.
What is appropriate for Noahides is to say the Prayer of Rain on this day, so that both Jews and Noahides together ask G-d for this blessing. (See also the blog on "how to celebrate Sukkot").
Simchat Torah is a festival that seems to have developed as a holiday around the 14th century. It is the celebration of the renewal of the weekly cycle of Torah readings. Many Noahids read and learn about the weekly portions of Torah and therefore automatically feel connected to Simchat Torah. (See also the blog "Can a Noahide Study Torah" and the video "Can Noahides Study the Jewish Torah?")
It gives a sense of "pride" to have read the portions for a whole year and a sense of " excitement" to be allowed to start again, knowing that new things will be discovered and learned, building on the stones laid the previous year.
It is good to reflect this day on the fact that Moses received the entire Torah from G-d – both the Written and the Oral Torah at Sinai. Included in the Torah, G-d also repeated and gave Moses the Seven Commandments for the Noahides, along with their explanations and their details. (See also the blog "Torah of Moses")
Moses manually wrote a Torah scroll (Deutr. 31:9) and also one for each tribe and from then on these scrolls were accurately copied, so accurately that thousands of years later we can still accurately read this Word of G-d. That alone is a great miracle in itself and gives our great joy, knowing that it allows us to read, learn and study the appropriate way to live and how to obey and serve G-d. Which, after all, is the whole purpose of the creation of the world, and the purpose of our existence given by G-d here on earth. To serve Him in a manner desired by Him as King. Not because He needs it to gain recognition as King, but because that is how we receive and can learn to understand His goodness, given to us.
Besides the Written Torah, the Oral Torah also gives us joy. For it is the Oral Torah that clarifies many points in the Written Torah through its explanations. The Oral Torah was passed on to Moses, who passed it on to Joshua who passed it on again, eventually ending up with today's Orthodox rabbis, from whom we learn. (See also the blog "Noahides and the Oral Torah")
The practical arrangement for celebrating Simchat Torah may include a festive meal with family and friends.
Experiencing the reading of the cycle of Torah by reading the last Torah-Portion of Deuteronomy followed by the first of Genesis.
The most striking feature of Simchat Torah is dancing with the closed Torah scroll. (Closed for the practical reason that it makes it easier to dance with, but also symbolically that the Torah is for everyone, including those for whom the Torah is "still" closed and "not yet" understood). For many, it will not be possible to live and experience this in a synagogue.
But enjoying beautiful songs, possibly with dancing, is of course possible.
Brought By Angelique Sijbolts
Angelique Sijbolts is one of the main writers for the Noahide Academy. She has been an observant Noahide for many years. She studies Torah with Rabbi Perets every week. Angelique invests much of her time in editing video-lectures for the Rabbis of the Academy and contributes in administrating the Academy's website in English and Dutch. She lives in the north of the Netherlands. Married and mother of two sons. She works as a teacher in a school with students with special needs. And is a Hebrew Teacher for the levels beginners and intermediate. She likes to walk, to read and play the piano.
The Divine Code by rabbi Moshe Weiner 4e edition p 25 end 38
Aish Article; Shmini Azeret and Simchat Torah
Talmud - Sukkot 55b
Youtube information Get Up for Simchat Torah - Roar Parody
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