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November 30, 2015 / 18 Kislev, 5776
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Rejoicing at the Place of Drawing Water

Rejoicing at the Place of Drawing Water

Photo Credit: Gideon Markowicz/Flash90

Acrobats from the Caucasus Mountains last night delighted the residents of Modi’in on Simchat Beit Hashoeiva.

Every night, in the Temple courtyard (where Arab kids play soccer nowadays), tens of thousands of Jews would gather to watch the Simchat Beit HaShoeivah (Rejoicing at the place of drawing the water for the Sukkot water libation ceremony). The most respected community leaders would dance and sing and do tricks and swallow flames. The dancers carried lit torches, and were accompanied by the harps, lyres, cymbals and trumpets of the Levites.

The Mishnah Sukkah declares: “He who has not seen the rejoicing at the place of drawing water has never seen rejoicing in his life.” On Sukkot, Jerusalem would be packed with pilgrim Jewish families, keeping the biggest mitzvah related to any holiday, but this one in particular: Be happy.

Hence the Caucasian acrobat walking the tight wire in Modi’in.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.

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