Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sukkah, 53a
1 א
תלמוד בבלי מסכת סוכה דף נג עמוד א
2 ב
תניא, אמרו עליו על רבן שמעון בן גמליאל כשהיה שמח שמחת בית השואבה היה נוטל שמנה אבוקות של אור , וזורק אחת ונוטל אחת ואין נוגעות זו בזו. וכשהוא משתחוה נועץ שני גודליו בארץ ושוחה, ונושק את הרצפה וזוקף, ואין כל בריה יכולה לעשות כן. וזו היא קידה
It was taught: They said of Rabban Simeon ben Gamaliel that when he rejoiced at the [temple ceremony on Sukkot which was called the] 'rejoicing at the place of the water-drawing', he used to take eight lighted torches [and throw them in the air] and catch one and throw one and they did not touch one another; and when he prostrated himself, he used to dig his two thumbs in the ground, bend down, kiss the ground, and draw himself up again, a feat which no other man could do, and this is what is meant by Kidah [bowing to the ground]. [Translation by Judaic Classics Library]
3 ג

Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. The “rejoicing at the place of the water drawing” (Simchat Beit Hashoeva)ceremony is portrayed as the height of happiness and celebration. Sukkot is known as the holiday for “Simcha” (joy). What do you think was the source of the happiness in this celebration?

2. How did Rabban Simeon ben Gamaliel reflect his joy? Do you consider this an appropriate expression of joy for a great rabbi?

3. How can we bring joy into our appreciation of natural resources such as water?

4 ד
Time Period: Rabbinic (Maccabees through the Talmud)