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Does a mourner dance by hakafot on Simchat Torah?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg


Library » Holidays » Simchat Torah | Subscribe | What is RSS?


In the Code of Jewish Law, this issue is not explicitly discussed. It is stated that a mourner should not participate in the circling of the Bimah by Hoshanot,1  and many maintain that the same rule applies to Hakafot, but others disagree.

According to Chabad custom, mourners fully participate in the hakafot -- thus following the rule that all vestiges of mourning are prohibited on Jewish holidays -- but they are not honored with leading any of the hakafot.


  • 1. Code of Jewish Law, Orach Chaim, 660:2.


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Life Cycle » Death » Mourning

Chabad, an acronym for Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding, is the name of a Chassidic Group founded in the 1770s. Two of the most fundamental teachings of Chabad are the intellectual pursuit of understanding the divine and the willingness to help every Jew who has a spiritual or material need.
Literally means "circling." On the holiday of Simchat Torah we take the Torah scrolls and encircle the synagogue's reading table seven times. This ceremony is done by night and repeated next day, and is customarily accompanied by dancing, singing and great joy.
Table at the center of the synagogue upon which the Torah is placed when it is being read.
Special prayers recited during the morning prayers throughout the holiday of Sukkot. During a portion of this prayer, the congregants, while holding their "Four Kinds," encircle the reading table of the synagogue.