web analytics
March 5, 2015 / 14 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

The 2013 Sigd Celebration in Jerusalem

"Sigd" means bowing or prostration in Ge’ez, and the service includes frequent bowing and prostration on the part of worshipers.
A copy of the Orit is displayed to worshipers during the 2013 Sigd.

A copy of the Orit is displayed to worshipers during the 2013 Sigd.
Photo Credit: Ilene Perlman

In his address, MK Shimon Solomon suggested that the Sigd holiday has three primary functions: to safeguard Jewish identity and assure that Jews remain distinct from gentiles; to safeguard the Jewish way of life; and to bring about peace in the home and between friends.

“The Sigd is my answer to those who question our Jewishness,” MK Solomon declared.

Rabbi Yosef Hadane, the Chief Rabbi of the Ethiopian community, stressed the significance and historical context of the Sigd in his speech. “This day is important for us, the Jews from Ethiopia, as well as for the entire nation of Israel — as all of Israel are responsible for one another,” he said.

The rabbi recounted that in Ethiopia the practice was for Jews to gather and ascend a mountain during the Sigd, to pray, and afterwards to return to the synagogue.

“Why don’t we pray in the synagogue? Why do we climb a mountain?” Rabbi Hadane asked.

He explained that the Sigd practice of worshiping outdoors, on a mountain, is connected to the original receiving of the Torah on Mount Sinai.

“We celebrate in commemoration of Ezra and Nehemiah,” the rabbi said, describing how the Jews in the Land of Israel had forgotten much of the Torah and intermingled with the local non-Jewish population as a result of the Babylonian exile, but that when Ezra arrived he reorganized the community “so that all will be according to the ways of Moses and Israel.” As a result, the Jewish community repented and recommitted itself to the covenant with God in Jerusalem.

“Gentlemen,” Rabbi Hadane said, returning to his point about why the holiday is celebrated atop a mountain, “the acceptance of the Torah at that time was similar to the acceptance of the Torah at Mount Sinai,” and each year that covenant is renewed during the Sigd.

As the Sigd has a strong element of repentance, it is also a fast day. Following the services, the worshipers joyously escorted the qessotch to a specially erected tent at the Armon Hanatziv Promenade, in which the fast was broken. After some traditional celebratory Ethiopian dancing, the qessotch recited blessings and then passed out chunks of bread to the people crowded within, and the Sigd ceremony at the Promenade concluded.

Following the Sigd, I visited the Netanya home of Qes Emaha Negat, one of the oldest qessotch in Israel. Among the topics the qes talked about was the importance of maintaining Ethiopian Jewry’s unique religious heritage in the state of Israel, including the Sigd celebration.

“The Sigd isn’t something that the community formed there [in Ethiopia]. It was instituted here, in Jerusalem, after the return from the Babylonian exile,” Qes Emaha said, citing a tradition about the holiday. “And so our community safeguarded it, to strengthen Judaism, and we kept it for 2,500 years. We don’t understand why the rest of the Jewish nation didn’t maintain it. And now we want the entire Jewish nation to safeguard this heritage.”

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “The 2013 Sigd Celebration in Jerusalem”

  1. The_CroW24 says:

    5+1 and Iran Trust in close final agreement on #nuclear program in no more than a year – http://t.co/tp9V1Oi0mN

  2. Myriam Obadia says:

    yes, why are they the only ones who kept it? It seems to me that we should all return to that tradition

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Gaza on the Water
Israel To Double Water Supply For Gaza Despite Hamas Threats
Latest Indepth Stories
A young Moshe Meir Weiss introduces his mother, Mrs. Agnes Weiss Goldman, to Rav Moshe in 1979.

There were no airs about him. Rav Moshe was affectionately known as the Gaon of Normalcy.

Keeping-Jerusalem

Israel’s full sovereignty over a united Jerusalem is the only path for true peace in the region.

Mordechai on the King's horse, being led by Haman

Just like Moses and Aaron, Mordechai decides to ruin the party…

The president has made clear – I can’t state this more firmly – the policy is Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.

Obama has an apparent inability to understand Islam in particular and Mid-East culture in general

Pesach is a Torah-based holiday whose fundamental observances are rooted in Torah law; Purim is a rabbinic holiday whose laws and customs are grounded in the rabbinic tradition.

In honor of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s successful speech before Congress.

Mr. Spock conveys a message with painfully stark relevance to our world today, especially in the context of PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.

Obama created the “partisan politics” by asking Dem. party members to avoid Bibi and his address

Enough is enough. The Jewish community has a big tent, but the NIF should have no place in it.

I vote for the right and get left-wing policy. Every. Frigging. Time.

The Holocaust was the latest attempt of Amalek to destroy the special bond that we enjoy with God.

UN inspectors were flabbergasted when Iran allowed them full unfettered access to All nuclear sites

Obama’s real problem is that he knows Netanyahu has more credibility on the Iran issue than he does.

More Articles from Shai Afsai
A copy of the Orit is displayed to worshipers during the 2013 Sigd.

“Sigd” means bowing or prostration in Ge’ez, and the service includes frequent bowing and prostration on the part of worshipers.

Left to right: Rabbi Wayne Franklin, Elder Ovadiah Agbai, and Elder Pinchas Ogbukaa speaking to students at Temple Emanu-El's Religious School.

There are some 3,000 members of the Igbo ethnic group practicing Judaism in Nigeria.

Sigd means “prostration” or “bowing down” in Ge’ez, the ancient Ethiopian liturgical language.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-2013-sigd-celebration-in-jerusalem/2013/11/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: