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Simchas Torah, 1939

Simchas Torah, 1939

Associate Editor

Oct. 6, 1939 was a Friday, Simchas Torah. The war was just five weeks old. Imagine Sukkot and Simchas Torah in Poland, 1939. People still built sukkahs and were sitting in them, 70 years ago this week. They said “Farewell To The Sukkah.” “Just as I have fulfilled [the mitzvah] and dwelled in this sukkah, so may I merit in the coming year to dwell in the sukkah of the Leviathan.” On Simchas Torah, did children in villages tie an old man’s tzitzis to the bima? Kids gathered under the tallis for the kids’ aliyah. Women lit candles in Warsaw that night at 5:39. There still were candles. It was Shabbos Bereshis. And there was morning and there was evening.

That was Poland. All was normal in Amsterdam, and would be so for quite some time. Hey, isn’t that Anne Frank in the second-floor window?

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