Project Genesis

The Calendar and Holidays (incl. Sabbath)

Why not begin the Torah on Rosh Hashana?

Question: If Rosh Hashana is the beginning of the year and the time of Adam’s birth why do we not start the cycle of reading the Torah until Simchat Torah? Shouldn’t Simchat Torah and Rosh Hashana technically occur simultaneously?

Answer: Thanks for your really excellent question. Everyone in the world, not just Jews, pass before G-d in review on Rosh Hashana. It’s the beginning, but it’s a general beginning for the whole world.

But as the Jewish month of Tishrei progresses, the process continues to unfold in a way that is specific for Israel. Yom Kippur for change and reconciliation, Sukkos for the joy and closeness that is now restored, and finally, Shemini Atzeres, which our Sages say represents G-d’s full attachment to Israel. “Then you will be fully joyful.” “Please stay with me for just one more day – it’s hard for me to let you leave!” Shemini Atzeres/Simchas Torah is the culmination of the process that Tishrei represents. It is only then that we can truly celebrate the Torah, the physical manifestation of our bond with G-d.

Best wishes,
Michoel Reach

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