Simchat Beit HaShoeivah

Simchat Beit HaShoeivah

: "And you shall draw waters with joy from the wells of salvation" (Isa. 12:3).

Afterwards, every night in the outer Temple courtyard, tens of thousands of spectators would gather to watch the Simchat Beit HaShoeivah (Rejoicing at the Place of the Water-Drawing), as the most pious members of the community danced and sang songs of praise to God. The dancers would carry lighted torches, and were accompanied by the harps, lyres, cymbals and trumpets of the Levites. According to the Mishnah (Tractate Sukkah), "He who has not seen the rejoicing at the Place of the Water-Drawing has never seen rejoicing in his life." Throughout Sukkot, the city of Jerusalem teemed with Jewish families who came on the holiday pilgrimage and joined together for feasting and Torah study. A mechitza (partition separating men and women) was erected for this occasion.

Nowadays, this event is recalled via a Simchat Beit HaShoeiva gathering of music, dance, and refreshments. This event takes place in a central location such as a synagogue, yeshiva, or place of study. Refreshments are served in the adjoining Sukka. Live bands often accompany the dancers. The festivities usually begin late in the evening, and can last long into the night. In Crown Heights, Brooklyn, the Chabad Hasidim celebrate this festival in the street every night of Sukkot.


In Jerusalem, there is a Simchas Beis HaShoevah at many Hasidic main synagogues on most nights of Sukkos. Particularly the eastern part of Meah Shearim is very busy, with large festivals being held at Karlin, Toldos Aharon, Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok and Breslov. The largest of these is the one at Toldos Aharon. Other places where festivities are held are the main synagogues of Dushinsky and Belz, as well as tens of smaller places around the city.


[ Simchas Beis Hashoeiva]



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