Hakafot- הַקָּפוֹת

Hakafot in Hebrew means "to circle." This tradition takes place on two Jewish holidays - Sukkot and Simhat Torah. This week our Israeli recommendation is to join in hafakot!

A group of young Jewish teens dancing with Israeli flags outside the Old City of Jerusalem

Hakafot is a Jewish minhag (custom) on certain holidays.


#Sukkot

On Sukkot, at the beit knesset (synagogue), the hazzan (cantor) takes the Torah scroll out of the ark and places it on the bima (podium). While the other members of the congregation are circling the bima while holding the Arbah Minim (Four Species), the hazzan sings out special verses called Hoshanot and the congregation responds in unison. This is done on each of the seven days of the holiday except on Shabbat.

#Simhat_Torah

On Simhat Torah, there is also hakafot. It's the holiday where Jews celebrate having received the Torah, so the hafakot on this day is even more joyous! All the Torah scrolls in the ark are passed around from person to person so that all can partake in the occasion and everyone walks in a giant circle seven times, usually around the bima.


In places like Tel Aviv, the celebration even takes to the streets, with local congregations playing music and parading around. In years past, the parade even stopped at the bars and encouraged everyone to join in! The best part? All are welcome to participate in this! Just remember to wear comfortable shoes!

 

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