Yesterday, we began a new series that has a connection to the previous series, ‘fruit,’ in its metaphorical manifestation. It consists of the qualities noted in Galatians 5:22-23 as the fruits of the Spirit. If you missed the Hebrew Word from the Lord titled ‘the fruit of the Spirit,’ we recommend that you read it now. You can find it in a previous email from about 10 days ago. The second fruit of the Spirit is joy, ‘sim•cha.’
Simcha, Joy, is one of the most prevalent words in the Bible. Together with its synonym, sa•son, it appears in scriptures over 400 times! In fact, the English word ‘sassy’ came from sa•son. Both words together form a beautiful expression that is said in every Jewish wedding (by the way, weddings themselves and other great events such as a child birth are called in the general name ‘sim•cha’). This expression, coined by the prophet, Jeremiah, says: ‘kol sa•son ve•kol sim•cha, kol cha•tan ve•kol ka•la’.
“The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride”
The Book of Jeremiah repeats this expression three more times: 7:34, 16:9 and 25:10.
Sim•cha is connected to the name of an important Jewish Holiday – Sim•chat To•rah – the Rejoicing of the Torah. This holiday is celebrated on She•mi•ni A•tze•ret, which is the first day following the seventh day of Sukkot (Feast of Booths, Feast of Tabernacles). Even though She•mi•ni A•tze•ret is celebrated a day after Su•kkot, it is a separate Biblical holiday* (see below). Sim•chat To•rah is celebrated on the same day, and the custom was started by the sages during the exile in Babylonia. The holiday commemorates the completion of reading portions of the Torah during the year (there are 52; each portion is read each week of the year all over the world). This custom is biblical because it was first done by Ezra the Scribe.
* “Seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord; on the eighth day shall be a holy gathering to you; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord; it is a solemn assembly; and you shall do no labor in it”
Another small holiday related to sim•cha is Sim•chat Beit Ha•sho•e•va. It is an ancient Jewish custom related to the commandment of “Pouring (casting) Water” that was established at the Temple on Sukkot (Feast of Booths, Feast of Tabernacles) after bringing the water of the Gihon Spring to the Temple.
From 100 references to joy, the first time it is mentioned in the New Testament it is coupled with the birth of Jesus, Yeshua:
“When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy”