Simchat Beit Hashoeva
Simchat Beit HashoevaAharon Krohen, Flash 90

In the first and second Jewish temples in Jerusalem, sacrificial offerings were generally accompanied by a libation of wine. During the Sukkot holiday, on the other hand, the morning offering was accompanied by a libation of water. According to the Talmud, the water libation was brought on Sukkot because, during the holiday, G-d decides the amount of rainfall the world will receive in the coming year.

The libation ceremony would begin with the drawing of the water from the Siloam Pool in the City of David. The ceremony would be accompanied by great joy, with revelers celebrating throughout the night, singing, dancing, reciting Psalms, and playing instruments. This celebration was known as the "Simchat Beit Hashoeva" (lit. Rejoicing at the Place of the Water-Drawing).

The sages in the era recounted that "whoever did not experience the Simchat Beit Hashoeva never experienced true joy." The sages recalled how they would celebrate all night for the entire week, and when they would feel tired, they would fall asleep on their friends' shoulders as they continued to dance.

In modern times, while the libation ceremony has yet to be revived due to a lack of a temple, the celebration has been brought back to life, with Simchat Beit Hashoeva parties taking place in Jewish communities around the world. While these parties can be found around Israel and the world, Jerusalem is the capital of such celebrations, as it was during the temple era.

So you can experience this great joy, Israel National News-Arutz Sheva gathered a few of the top parties in Israel and even one in the US. It is best to keep in mind that most of the parties generally have large amounts of attendees and are therefore less suitable for people who are uncomfortable in crowded spaces. In addition, while most of the parties have some sort of section for women, it is worth noting that due to the conservative nature of the groups hosting the parties, they are always gender-segregated, and the men are generally in the center while the women look on from the side.

Toldos Aharon, Jerusalem

Tucked away in the middle of the Mea Shearim neighborhood is the central study hall of the insular Toldos Aharon Hassidic sect. While the sect is closed off to society throughout most of the year, on Sukkot, it opens its doors to the public for its nightly Simchat Beit Hashoeva. While the celebration is open to all, the members do ask that guests respect their way of life and refrain from publicly using cellular devices and photography of any kind while on the premises. Every night of Chol Hamoed (intermediate days), revelers crowd the sect's large study hall, dancing front to back in a several-layered circle to the music of a keyboard and choir. At the same time, in the large sukkah outside the study hall, revelers line up to partake in various foods, as well as cold juice and water that is dispensed out of spigots along the wall.

Where: Toldos Aharon Beit Midrash, 89 Mea Shearim St.

When: Sunday-Wednesday starting at around 10:00 PM

Toldos Avraham Yitzchak, Jerusalem

Down the street from Toldos Aharon, in a giant sukkah (it takes a few minutes to notice that you are in a Sukkah and not an actual building) on Salant St., a breakaway sect called Toldos Avraham Yitzchak holds its nightly celebrations. Like its older brother, Toldos Avraham Yitzchak is also highly insular, and here, too, members ask that guests refrain from using cellular devices and photography of any kind while on the premises. During the party, revelers line up on high bleachers surrounding a long table, at the head of which sits the grand rabbi. The music at Toldos Avraham Yitzchak is loud with a strong bass that gets all present moving.

Where: Large sukkah on Rabbi Shmuel Salant St.

When: Approximately 7:00-10:00 PM

Karlin-Stolen, Jerusalem

One of the oldest hassidic sects, walking into the nightly Karlin-Stolen Simchat Beit Hashoeva is like taking a trip to prewar Europe, with a full Klezmer band that plays "Niggunim" (mostly lyricless tunes) on a balcony above the large crowd of revelers who dance in a never-ending chain that snakes throughout the large study hall. What's nice about Karlin-Stolen is that besides being one of the oldest sects, it is also relatively open and welcoming. At the Karlin-Stolen celebration, one can find nearly every kind of Jew, and they are all made to feel at home. Hassidic, Lithuanian (non-hasidic haredi), Sephardic, Religious Zionist, traditional, and even secular Jews gather in Karlin-Stolen to celebrate the holiday.

Where: Corner of Avinoam Yellen and Yoel Streets

When: Every evening starting at around 9:00 PM

Merkaz Harav Yeshiva, Jerusalem

Known as the flagship yeshiva of religious Zionist Jewry, thousands flock to Merkaz Harav's annual Simchat Beit Hashoeva, which is held on one of the nights of Chol Hamoed in the yeshiva's study hall in the Kiryat Moshe neighborhood. Beginning at 8:00 PM until the early morning hours, celebrants, including VIPs such as the Chief Rabbi of Israel, politicians, and yeshiva deans, dance back front to back in a large several-layered circle to the music of a band, usually led by famed clarinetist Musa Berlin. Being that the yeshiva is affiliated with the religious Zionism, the event is open to all and is very welcome, as they are. In addition, the event is generally live-streamed on YouTube for those who can not make it physically.

When: Tuesday, the third night of Chol Hamoed, October 3rd, at 8:00 PM

Where: 12 Tzvi Yehuda St., Jerusalem

Mishkoltz, Petach Tikva

Mishkoltz is a small Hassidic sect located in the city of Petach Tikva in central Israel. While small, the sect concentrates on Jewish outreach and is very welcoming to its non-haredi neighbors, hosting events throughout the year. One of the highlights of the sect's events is its Simchat Beit Hashoeva. This year, the event will be held in the city's Moshava Stadium and headlined by American singers Mordechai Shapiro and Beri Weber, as well as local acts.

When: Sunday, the first day of Chol Hamoed, October 1st, at 7:30 PM

Where: Moshava Stadium, 12 Shlomo Shmeltzer St., Petach Tikva

Chabad-Lubavitch, Brooklyn, New York

Every year on Sukkot, droves of Jews from all over the New York metro area and beyond gather on the street outside the central Chabad headquarters on Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, for a nightly Simchat Beit Hashoeva that lasts until early morning. Every night of Chol Hamoed, various acts entertain revelers who dance with the iconic yellow "Moshiach" flags as NYPD officers stand guard.

When: Nightly during Chol Hamoed Sukkot from Monday through Thursday

Where: Outside of 770 Eastern Parkway