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    Candies & candles – Simchat Torah

    Simchat Torah customs concentrate on children.

    In most places the children get candies and chocolates, and often the children’s parade includes flags on sticks topped with apples, candles or even fireworks – not very safe of course, and often bitterly criticised by the spiritual leaders.

    The Magen Avraham opposed burning aromatic herbs on Simchat Torah and all the more the use of fire crackers.

    Those who opposed the opposers agreed that the candles should not be lit on the festival itself but thought that if they were lit from a light kindled before yom-tov there could be a way of letting the candle burn down to let the flame ignite the fireworks. Probably fun, but highly dangerous.

    Carrying flags on sticks is also dangerous: the sticks can cause damage to people and even to the synagogue seats.

    One of the questions that hardly anyone asks is why flags were part of the processions. Maybe it is to let the children feel part of the army of the Almighty, carrying the message of the Torah wherever they go.

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