Haven't caught up since Sukkot. Our sukkah is still up. . . and we might just leave it up. We've enjoyed having mornings together in there. It's cozy and it's a reminder that His presence is with us.
One morning during our prayer time together, I prayed, "Father, please let the painted buntings come back!" And immediately, a beautiful male bunting flew to the feeder. I didn't get a picture that day, but here's a photo from years past. They've been coming to Golden Cottage for over a decade, and last year, they arrived in late August. I'm so glad they've come 'cause they fill my bird-nerd heart with JOY!
When Sukkot ended, we held our Simchat Torah service at the synagogue. Ordinarily, this event is an all-night study of the Torah. This year, however, we decided to make it an all day service. Rabbi shared some great information and wisdom with us, and I will be sharing a few of those lessons with you in the weeks ahead.
We reverently paraded the Torah - walking behind it, following it with our eyes and reverently touching it with our siddurs. Some kiss the siddur and then touch it to the scroll. We do these things to remind us that we carry the Torah with us everywhere we go and we do not turn our backs on it. We kiss it because the Word is like honey to our lips.
We praised Hashem, worshiped Him, prayed, studied, and danced. One of our ladies taught us two new dances. I was able to dance (with my new knee) and it felt so good! Thank you, Father.
And we ate, of course. You remember the Jewish motto, right? It is: They Tried to Kill Us . . . We Survived . . . Let's Eat! We had a covered dish lunch around noon, and then a Mediterranean meal for dinner (provided by one of our synagogue families.) I didn't get photos, sadly. We were there from 9:30am to 7:30pm. At the end, we had a Havdalah service. We don't do this service often, so I really enjoyed it.
I think the best part was having our 364 year-old Torah scroll rolled out at the service. Many had never seen an antique sefer Torah. Some were moved to tears. Think about the hundreds of years the rabbis and congregations have protected and preserved this treasure:
Rabbi rolled it out on a table for everyone to see up close. Since it is very fragile, we don't touch it with our hands, but use a yud to touch the pages.
I'll never forget the tears shed when we received this scroll from Israel. It was originally in Morocco, at the very same synagogue that Rabbi Jem attended while he was stationed there in the military. We treasure it.
When the sun went down, we started the Havdalah service.