Moscow, October 9, Interfax - From Friday evening, Jews begin to celebrate the double holiday of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah - usually these days are characterized by special activities, but due to the pandemic, traditional dances with scrolls of the Torah will be canceled.
"Unfortunately, this year, because of the epidemic, it is impossible for many people to come together, most will have to celebrate Simchat Torah at home, only with their families. But I am sure that it should not lessen the joy of the holiday. After all, songs and dances are only an external manifestation of joy of the Torah, and the joy itself is inside us, in the soul of every Jew!" Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar said in his address to the parishioners.
"This year, most of us will not be able to dance with the Torah. We should stay at home, but it does not mean we should cancel the fun and should not be joyous. Protecting our lives and our health is also a commandment that we learn from the Pentateuch," President of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia Alexander Boroda said.
There is a tradition to hold loud dances with Torah scrolls on Simchat Torah. However, this year, due to the threat of the spreading coronavirus, Rabbi Lazar introduced additional restrictions. Besides mandatory requirement to wear medical masks and gloves and to keep the distance, dancing with the Torah will be restricted: parishioners will stand in their places and only one person carrying the Torah will move around the prayer room.