Simchat Beit HaShoevah (The Joy of Drawing Water)

Our ancient ancestors were desert dwellers who understood the importance of water. Without the seasonal rains, people faced thirst, famine and disease. Sukkot brings the start of the rainy season, and so a boisterous, elaborate ritual of drawing water evolved. Gigantic menorahs would be lit, and as shofars blasted and the people danced, Temple priests would fill one golden flask with water and another with wine, which they poured over the altar.

In case you don’t happen to have these items at home, here are some other ways to celebrate and show your gratitude for water. 

1. Write a poem or journal about all the ways water has been a part of your life. From drinking our eight glasses a day, to playing in puddles to growing our food, we’re all here because of water. 

2. Fill your fanciest glass with water to the brim and pour it over your hands. Or, place your hands in a lake or stream. Focus on how the water feels on your skin. Think about the power of washing our hands, especially in these times. Take a moment of gratitude for having access to water. 

3. Learn about places where access to clean water has been compromised, because of governmental neglect, climate change or racial inequities. Flint, Michigan; Newark, New Jersey; the Navajo Nation; Chennai, India and Rome, Italy have all experienced recent water crises. Take action to protect water resources by connecting to water justice movements in your community. 

4. Make a playlist of songs about rain (there’s lots of them!) or listen to ours: 

5. Dance around your living room and make your stomping a prayer for rain to nourish plants, snow to cap mountains and water for all living things. 

Booklet Section: Hand Washing, Sukkot & Simchat Torah