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Michoel’s Merchandise

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Michoels Merchandise

At a Simchat Torah gathering, Rabbi Israel Baal Shem told his disciples:

On Simchat Torah everyone sleeps in a little, because of the hakafot and the festivities of the previous evening. The heavenly angels, however, don’t say l’chaim on Simchat Torah, so they woke up for the morning prayers at the usual time. But the angels found themselves with nothing to do—as the Talmud derives from the verse When the morning stars sing together, the supernal ones call out,[1] “the angels cannot sing G-d’s praises in the heavens, until Israel sings G-d’s praises on earth.”[2] So they decided to do some cleaning up in the Garden of Eden.

They found the Garden of Eden littered with strange objects:  torn shoes, broken heels. The angels are accustomed to finding tztzit, tefillin, and similar things in the Garden of Eden; but they had never come across the likes of these. They decided to ask the angel Michoel, the supernal advocate of the Jewish people, if he knew what this was all about.

“Yes,” Michoel admitted, “this is my merchandise. These are the remains of last night’s hakafot, at which Jews danced with the Torah.” Michoel proceeded to count and pile the tattered shoes by community: so many and so many from Kaminkeh, so many and so many from Mezeritch, etc.

“Matat,” boasted Michoel, referring to most prestigious angel in the heavenly court, “ties crowns for G-d out of Isreal’s prayers. Today, I shall fashion an even more glorious crown for the Almighty out of these torn shoes.”

———————-

[1] Job 38:7

[2] Talmud, Chulin 91b.

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