Simchat Torah

lev

On Simchat Torah
We learn a little “secret”
Hidden in the scroll

As the High Holy Day season comes to a close, we celebrate Simchat Torah which begins on Sunday night.

To remind ourselves to never stop reading and learning from Torah, both the last verses and first verses of Torah will be chanted. The words of Torah are so precious that when we finish we don’t want to wait even a week to start reading again.

As it happens, the importance of Torah to the Jewish people is reflected in a sort of secret that is revealed on Simchat Torah to those who listen carefully and know a little Hebrew.

The final word of Torah is Yisrael (Israel), which ends with the Hebrew letter lamed (ל).

The first word of Torah is Bereshit (In the beginning), which starts with the Hebrew letter vet* (ב).

Combine the two letters and you get the Hebrew word lev (לב) which means heart.

This reminds us that the stories and instructions in Torah are the heart of the Jewish people. Or perhaps the lesson is that we should hold Torah close to our hearts. Either way, it’s not really much of a secret. But it’s interesting to find it hidden in plain sight.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach.

 

*It’s actually pronounced as a “bet”, but there are no vowels or punctuation in the scroll so when we combine letters as suggested this week the sounds of a few letters like bet/vet (which can be written with or without a dagesh, or dot) sometimes change. 

 

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