Simchat Torah, the celebration of the Torah, is really no time to speak, no time to sermonize, to give long-winded – or even short-winded – talks.
Indeed, on Simchat Torah we don’t celebrate by opening up and studying the Torah. Rather, we dance with wrapped Torah scrolls. With exuberant joy our dancing legs carry the Torah scrolls around and around. Simchat Torah is all about joy – hence its name, Simchat Torah meaning “Joy of Torah.” And joy transcends the mind. Try studying Torah while dancing!
The unbridled joy of Simchat Torah is not about words. It’s about reaching a place in our souls which is beyond words, ideas, feelings and any form of conscious expression. On Simchat Torah we reach a place that is beyond time and space.
There is no day quite like Simchat Torah. No nation or culture has a day like this. Simchat Torah carries the secret to Jewish eternity: that we are all in it together!
Simchat Torah is thus a day when all energy should be spent on dancing with the Torah, not studying (or listening to a rabbi talk). All energy should be channeled to our legs, not our ears.
The only reason to speak before the joyous dancing of Hakafot commences, is to express the true meaning of Simchat Torah and to inspire us all to dance and dance knowing that on this day all are one. There is really nothing like being part of one family; feeling that we are all in it together…
Here are two stories that capture this theme and help set the tone for dancing the night and day away knowing that we are all bound together in an immortal dance that goes beyond all time and space.
One story connects the Vidui confession of Yom Kippur with Simchat Torah.
The second relates the simple beauty of a Jew, who dances because…