Dominican Republic received the Torah

A historic, solemn and unforgettable experience was lived in the Dominican Republic with the inauguration of a new Torah scroll that was written in the city of Hebron, where the tomb of the patriarchs of the people of Israel, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is located.

This ceremony was attended by the Ambassador of Israel, Daniel Biran Bayor, as well as representatives of the Jewish community in the country.

At the beginning of the activity, Rabbi Shimon Pelman stated that the inauguration of a Torah scroll or ‘Hachnasat Sefer Torah’ is a celebration that aims to welcome this handwritten scroll to its new home which is the synagogue.

“For us, this is a day of celebration and it is historic because it happens very rarely in a community,” stated Rabbi Pelman.

He further explained that the Torah is handwritten by a specialized rabbi (Sofer) in ink and goose quill on cowhide parchment. “The Torah was given by God to the Jewish people through Moses on Mount Sinai, it is the book that guides the Jewish people with its 613 commandments.”

As an interesting fact, he pointed out that, during the two thousand years of exile, “each nation wrote its Torah by a Rabbi Sofer, and when the people met again in Israel, in 1949 -they found that without having communicated-, all the Torahs had the same message without changing even one letter”.

After his words, the ceremony continued with the parade of the Torah through several streets of Santo Domingo, which was covered by a Chupah (canopy) -which in Hebrew means to cover or protect-, while it was joyfully carried to its new home.

“At that moment, the guests who participated in this great celebration appreciated the traditional Jewish music and the spontaneous dances of the community that received with joy their new torah”, said Rabbi Shimon Pelman.

This dance is similar to the one that takes place on Simchat Torah. After the Torah scrolls are returned to the ark.

People participating in this celebration also noted that the Torah is passed from hand to hand, as they are given the honor of carrying it during the journey, in which people sang, danced and applauded.

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As the procession approached the synagogue, the existing Torah scrolls in the congregation were brought out to welcome the newly arrived Torah. Both were danced into the sanctuary and carried joyfully around the room.

Interesting facts

– Torah is a word that comes from the Hebrew “horĂ¡h”, meaning “teaching”, “direction”, “instruction” or “law”.

– The title Torah also usually refers to the Written Torah, i.e., all canonized scriptures.

– The Torah, Torah () or Pentateuch are the first five books of the Bible or Tanach (the Hebrew Bible) corresponding to the Old Testament, also known as the five books of Moses.

– The term hajnasat means “to bring from”; and Sefer Torah means “Torah scroll”. Therefore, this event can be called a “celebration of the Torah” or “parade of the Torah”.

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