Turn It and Turn It Again by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

Chag Samei’ach and welcome to the last official day of the holiday season of 5778!

We have made it up the mountain of Jewish time that transitions us each year from one to the next. We started this summer with Tisha B’av, the day of collective Jewish mourning. Then we went through the introspective month of Elul, emerging to a joyous Rosh Hashanah. Ten days later, our community marked a solemn and contemplative Yom Kippur. Three days after that, we took up our lulav and etrog and dwelled in booths for the Festival of Sukkot. And tonight we rejoice in completing a full cycle of Torah and a full holiday season as we celebrate Simchat Torah.

We celebrate the completion of a year of engaging in our sacred text. We are taught, “hafoch ba v’hafoch ba” – turn it and turn it again, for everything is found within it. Turn the scroll of the Torah, turn the handle of the eitz chayim upon which the sacred parchment is mounted, turn our lives over each and every year. We rejoice in meeting each story, each commandment, each whisper of our people’s ancient past anew because we are entirely new, the accumulation of our life experiences.

There are so many ways to engage with Torah during the year: attending weekly Torah study, attending services, reading on your own or with a friend. Some of you might want to consider chanting from the Torah at an upcoming Congregational Shabbat or perhaps preparing a short D’var Torah to share on those mornings as well. If you would like to learn more about participating on Congregational Shabbat, please email Lisa Richman and we will work with you to find the right opportunity.

I hope you will join us for Simchat Torah services tonight as we unroll our Torah from beginning to end and rejoice in the ability to meet our sacred story again, as if for the very first time. Learn more about Simchat Torah from ReformJudaism.org.