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Simchat Torah: The Dancing Souls

Saved By The DanceIt was a cold autumn day; the skies covered with the perpetual cloud of ash that hovered daily over Auschwitz. A group of fifty young...

When is a Yahrtzeit (memorial) candle lit on Sukkot?

Question: When should I light a Yahrtzeit candle on Sukkot? Answer: The Yahrtzeit candle is lit on Shmini Atzeret. On Yom Tov we may only light fire...

Why is playing a musical instrument forbidden on a Jewish holiday (and Shabbat, too)?

Question: Members of my synagogue hope to play guitars this Simchat Torah when they will dance with the Torah scrolls. I told the synagogue board that...

What is Shmini Atzeret/Simchat Torah?

After the seven day holiday of Sukkot, we celebrate another independent biblical holiday1. There are two distinct themes to this Holiday, as...

What is Yizkor?

You remain connected to those you were close to, even after they pass on. Judaism sees a dynamic relationship between family members in this life and...

What is "Mashiv Haruach Umorid Hageshem"?

"He causes the wind to blow and the rain to fall" Before the start of the silent Musaf Amidah on Shmini Atzeret, the beadle bangs on a table and...

Why is Yizkor recited on certain festivals?

In Yizkor, the souls of the departed are remembered in prayer to G-d and in monetary pledges to charity. It is founded upon the principle that a Mitzvah...

When is Yizkor recited?

Yizkor is recited following the morning Torah reading of: Yom KippurShmini Atzeretthe last day of Pesachthe second day of Shavuot See "How...

Simchat Torah: Circular Logic

Two Types There are two types of people; the first sees tragedy, the other sees opportunity. If their homes go up in flames, the first would reflect on...

Does a mourner dance by hakafot on Simchat Torah?

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...