What is the most powerful day in the Jewish calendar? Most would say: Yom Kippur – the holiest day of the year. Or Rosh Hashana – the birthday of existence. Or Passover – when the Jews were freed from Egypt and became a nation. Or Shavuot – when we received the Divine mandate: the Torah.
It’s actually Simchat Torah. Though this day isn’t even mentioned in the Torah, it contains a power and strength that is unmatched by any other day of the year. As great as the other days are, nothing parallels the way we dance and celebrate on Simchat Torah.
What is the secret of Simchat Torah?
The answer is illuminated by a heartbreaking yet awe-inspiring story of a young father of five children dancing with transcendent joy on Simchat Torah – just six days after the passing of his wife.
The song he sang: “Mi vadiom nye patonyem, ee v’agniom nye s’gorim – We in water will not drown, and in fire will not burn” – captures the indestructible power of Simchat Torah.
Torah is compared to both water and fire. But water and fire are opposites. How then do they come together in one Torah?
In truth, Torah is greater than both fire and water, and on Simchat Torah we reach that level – empowering us with the indomitable and immortal strength to never drown and never get burned, no matter how daunting the challenge; no matter how great the flood or the fire.