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    Seven circuits

    hakafotOn Simchat Torah the seven circuits (hakafot) with the Torah are a continuation of the Sukkot motif of carrying the Four Species around the bimah.

    There is a view that – like the Ushpizin on the evenings of Sukkot – the seven circuits honour seven Biblical ancestors – Abraham (who represents spiritual pioneering), Isaac (stability), Jacob (community), Joseph (courage), Moses (prophecy), Aaron (harmony) and David (emotion).

    The seven hakafot thus symbolise seven basic Jewish values and ideas.

    When Samuel Pepys visited a synagogue in London on Simchat Torah in 1663, all he saw was the exuberance of the congregation and he called it “religion absurdly performed”.

    What he missed was the deep symbolism of the Simchat Torah practices.

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