Sukkot at the Kotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem, Israel

Please G-d, tonight, October 17, we’ll be at 8 Kenilworth in Lindfield/Sydney, Australia for a Sukkot, simchat beit hashoeva celebration. The Sukkot party will be around 8:00. I’ll be speaking about some of my travels around the world. All are welcome to join.

What is a Simchat Beit Hashoeva?

On Sukkot there was a ceremony where people would gather outside of Jerusalem and water was drawn from a spring. This was done with much celebration. So much, that the Talmud says, ‘one who did not see the water drawing ceremony on Sukkot, has not seen celebration in his life.’

It must have been quiet a party. I would love to have been there.

The Talmud says that during the “Simchat Beit HaShoeva,” or “The Water Drawing Celebration,” Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel would juggle eight fire torches. This is quiet impressive. Even today there are only a handful of jugglers who could juggle eight torches. I can juggle three, so I guess I’ve got a long way to go!

Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel was no ordinary man. At one stage he became the ‘nasi,’ a very high position in Jewish leadership, thus if he found it fitting to juggle than I believe that this was a very important celebration.

I used to go to Crown Heights in Brooklyn, New York as a kid with my father and then alone as a teenager almost every year for the simchat beit hashoeva. The whole street was blocked off, and thousands of people from all over New York would come and dance.  The party went on every night of Sukkot from 9:00pm until 6:00am. I remember staying up every night for a week straight dancing until the sun came up.

It says that in the times of the Temple, people would grow so tired from dancing they’d fall asleep on each others’ shoulders. Because they were compressed so tightly they would keep moving in the circle while asleep.

On Sukkot we have a commandment to be happy and celebrate  and this is what Judaism is all about. Judaism is not about standing in the Synagogue and fasting on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. G-d wants us to celebrate and be happy. So find a simchat beit hashoeva to go to, and if not, find a Sukkah to celebrate in, and if not, just dance – you and G-d – because this is how we draw down the blessings for the year.

Moed Tov


2 Responses to “What is a Simchat Beit Hasoheva Sukkot Celebration, And are There Any in Sydney Australia ?”

  1. I love Holiday cooking!
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