SIMCHAT TORAH - 2009

Celebrates the end and beginning of the Torah reading cycle.

We read the end of Deu and the beginning of Gen. 

Tradition: This day combines joy and awe.  The prooftext verse is:

Ps 2:11 - And you shall rejoice in trembling.  The Torah is cause for joy and awe because it is portable, and an inexhaustible well of knowledge and fulfillment.  The Temple may be destroyed, we may be exiled from the Land - we always have Torah.  And where there is Torah, there is the Shechinah, who rejoices with us in the Torah.

            Though exiled, when Jews engage in Torah, they are at home.

                        -           Seder Elihayu Rabbah, 10th Century

 

            Finding joy in Torah means joy in its observance as well as its study -

            Simchat Torah means "theTorah's joy," and implies that it is not enough for a Jew to find joy in Torah, but the Torah should also find joy in him.

                        -           Jose-Ber Soloveichik of Brisk, 1820-1892

 

Let us read the verses together as we make the turn from the end of the Torah to the beginning -

Deu 34

Chazak, chazak, v'nit'chazeik - Be strong, be strong, and let us

strengthen one another

Gen 1:1-5.

A few thoughts on Torah:

            The Torah is the map of the world.

                        -           Zadok HaCohen Rabinowitz, 1824-1900

This goes with: Turn it over and over, for everything is in it.

-           Avot 5:25, Ben Bag-Bag

 

            Every living soul is a letter of the Torah, wherefore all souls taken together make up the Torah.

                        -           Nathan of Nemirov, died 1845

 

            The object of the whole Torah is that man should become a Torah himself.

                        -           Baal Shem Tov, 1700-1760

 

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