The Hebrew for ‘rejoice’ is gil and means ‘to spin around under the influence of violent emotion.’ This word is found 127 times in the Complete Jewish Bible.
The ‘great sign in the heaven’ is a woman clothed with the sun, under her feet the moon, and on her head a crown made of 12 stars. From an astronomical viewpoint, explained by John P. Pratt, the ‘woman’ is a very large constellation known as the Maiden or Virgo for the Virgin. This constellation moves in an elliptical path along which the sun, moon, and planets appear to move as the earth orbits the sun. In one year, the sun will appear to move through all twelve zodiac constellations. For two weeks per year, the sun appears in the ‘clothing of the woman.’ Every three years, the moon appears as a thin evening crescent under the ‘feet of the woman’ at the same time the ‘sun is in her clothing.’
When I was at the Western Wall on the Shabbat, I wondered why the men were dancing in circles and praising God with loud voices, but the women were not. I asked some young women who were studying at a yeshiva (school for religious study) in Jerusalem. I was told that ‘only men dance’. I asked why they could not praise God through the dance. Were they not joyful too? It was the Shabbat after all! They didn’t know the answer.
“Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp” (Psalm 149:3). The Hora is called the Israeli National Dance because it is easily danced by men, women, and children. A simple and joyful dance, the Hora can be done anywhere, anytime from wedding celebrations, to Feast days, to…