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Simchat Torah: Returning to the Torah, Again and Again

Rabbi Rayna Grossman, director of field education at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, wrote and narrated this one minute message about the essence of Simchat Torah. 

On Simchat Torah we celebrate the Torah.  We celebrate reaching the end, reciting the last words in Deuteronomy, which we follow by turning back to the beginning and reciting the first words in Genesis.  From end to beginning and back again, a continuing cycle connecting us to Jewish communities across the globe, and to Jewish communities through our history.

In Mishnah Pirkei Avot, Ben Bag Bag-Bag teaches of Torah: Turn it over, and turn it over again, for all is within… (Pirkei Avot 5:22)  Not only does this literally describe what we will be doing on Simchat Torah, it also captures for me what feels so Reconstructionist about our celebrations.

As Reconstructionists we are always returning to Torah, consciously looking at it with new eyes, new perspectives and new understanding. It is in this way that the Torah and our Tradition continue to be the living, evolving, and sustaining foundation of our Jewish lives today.

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