Yes, I love to dance.
“Girls Just Want to Have Fun” an iconic 80’s song, captures it!
The only Jewish dance I knew for years was Hava Nagila. I LOVED it and STILL LOVE it!
So when my Rabbi invited us to the Simchat Torah Service, did I expect raucous dancing, headstands, somersaults, and all around mayhem?
No. But I’m not kidding. This was happening! AnotherJewish delight. These people knew how to have fun. I never knew!!
Simchat Torah concludes the sacred holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur where we search our souls, make amends, and return to our essence. Sukkat follows as we unite with each other in outdoor huts eating our meals there for eight days.
Then on Simcha Torah, we read the FINAL section of the Torah!!!
.And we start celebrating and dancing??!!
Not quite yet.
After the conclusion of reading the Torah for a whole year, without pause we go IMMEDIATELY BACK to the beginning of the whole book… back to GENESIS. Day one. Right there and then!
|1In the beginning of God’s creation of the heavens and the earth.||אבְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ:|
|2Now the earth was astonishingly empty, and darkness was on the face of the deep, and the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the water.||בוְהָאָ֗רֶץ הָֽיְתָ֥ה תֹ֨הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ וְח֖שֶׁךְ עַל־פְּנֵ֣י תְה֑וֹם וְר֣וּחַ אֱלֹהִ֔ים מְרַחֶ֖פֶת עַל־פְּנֵ֥י הַמָּֽיִם:|
|3And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.||גוַיֹּ֥אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֖ים יְהִי־א֑וֹר וַֽיְהִי־אֽוֹר:|
|4And God saw the light that it was good…|
The Torah never stops… as we conclude we begin anew, in an upwards continuing spiral of growth and spiritual connection.
And THEN… the fun begins!
Simchat Torah means “The Joy of the Torah”. The festivities are expressed with singing, dancing and marching with the Torah as well as l’chaims for those that want to partake!
It’s easy to forget amongst the festivities that we are actually celebrating the divine Five Books of Moses… the Torah. If we remind ourselves of our purpose, the joy is heightened.
Simchat Torah also represents repentance and forgiveness. Forty days after the Jewish people heard G-d’s voice at Mount Sinai, they built the Golden Calf. Seeing this idol worship, Moses breaks the The Ten Commandment tablets. But on Yom Kippur, Moses brings a SECOND set of Tablets from Hashem for the Israelites. G-d is always ready to forgive us for our wrong deeds when we repent and return. This chance to make right our wrongs and Hashem’s love for us is surely a cause for celebration.
In past years, to be honest, I’ve approached Simchat Torah as a chance to dance and have fun without thinking much about why.
This year I will bring not only my feet, but my head and heart. But not TOO much of my head because Simchat Torah expresses our equality; we all dance on the same level floor with our feet. As Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak of Lubavitch once said, “The Torah really wants to dance, but because it cannot physically do so, the Jew becomes its feet on Simchat Torah, carrying it just like feet carry the head.”
A dancing Torah is right up my alley, fits like a glove. I am elated that the ancient religion of my ancestors offers this girl a chance to have fun!
Below you’ll see a glimpse of a (pre covid) Simchat Torah celebration! Chag Sameach!!
Love, Vivi 💖 ©
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