Torah is the last of the major holidays. In the times of
the Bible, there were no other holidays until Passover a full six
months later. We now have Chanukah and Purim, which are Rabbinic in
origin, and serve to brighten up the winter darkness.
Torah is considered by many to be the holiday from which
we draw from the Torah the simcha and joy that will accompany us
through the year until the next Simchat Torah. Yet we find even
after dancing straight through the Simchat Torah celebrations many
people are still depressed, some plain unhappy and others are just
down right miserable. How can that be? Don’t we bring joy into our
lives when we dance and sing on Simchat Torah?
This can be understood
through a story.
king had a daughter that he wished to marry to a “good”
and proper suitor. After much searching and investigation, he
decided that a particular suitor was acceptable. The king was ready
to announce that he had agreed to this man marrying his daughter.
the king was not a hundred percent positive that this man was the
correct suitor, since it was well known that the person that marries
the princes would become instantly rich and powerful. Therefore
there were many charlatans who tried to fool the king in to thinking
that they desired the princess when in reality all they wanted was
the wealth, honor and fame the marriage would bring.
king wanted to know if the suitor that he selected was
indeed truly in love with his daughter and desired her for herself
and would take good care of her. Or was he really desirous of the
riches and honor that would accompany anyone who marries the
the king sent spies to see how the suitor would react
when he was informed that he was chosen to marry the princess. If
the man’s happiness manifested itself in telling his friends about
the many charms and beauty of the princess and how wonderful she
was, then the king would know that he was the correct man. However,
if this man boasted of the wealth, honor and position that he was
soon to inherit, it would be a sure sign that the man’s interest
was more in his own personal betterment than in the welfare of the
same is true for us. If our happiness on Simchat Torah is
due to the festive dancing and singing or of being with good friends
and eating good food, then our happiness is not because of the
Torah. Simchat Torah then becomes just a day to have a “good time”.
Instead of drawing up simcha for the entire year, we have merely
the other hand, if we are happy because we have involved
ourselves in the reading of the Torah, we have studied it and
invested much of our energies in trying to fathom its secrets, then
for us, the happiness of Simchat Torah is that we have finished one
cycle of the Torah and are now starting another. This simcha is
truly the happiness that comes from dedicating part of one’s life
to the study of the Torah.
this second person will also dance and sing, eat and drink with
friends but his simcha is not based on the “good time” of
Simchat Torah but on the essence of the day. This is the person that
G-d rewards with a year of happiness.