Simchat Torah - Overcoming With Joy
Simchat Torah- Overcoming With Joy
Hoshana Rabba is Wednesday. The Challah for the day meal is dipped in honey. This is the final day the we make the blessing when eating in the Sukkah.
Eiruv Tavshlilin Wednesday. A Challah is to be taken together with a cooked piece of food, such as an egg or piece of meat or fish, saying, “Baruch Ata Adonay Elohaynu Melech Haolam Asher Kid’shanu B’mitzvotav V’tzivanu Al Mizvat Eruv- Through this it shall be permitted for us to bake, cook, store, light candles, and do all that is necessary to prepare on Yom Tov for Shabbat together with all Jews within this city.” The Challah and food are eaten on Shabbat.
NY City Candle Lighting Wednesday 5:58 . Shehechiyanu is said at candle lighting and in Kiddush Wednesday and Thursday nights. Wednesday night and Thursday day we eat in the Sukkah without a blessing. Yizkor Thursday. Candle Lighting Thursday Night after 6:55 from an existing flame. Friday Night Candle lighting 5:55 from an existing flame. Shabbat ends 6:52 For candle lighting times: http://www.chabadgn.com/calendar/candlelighting.htm
SIMCHAT TORAH: OVERCOMING WITH JOY
By Rabbi Yonassan Biggs
Shalom and Bracha!
This Wednesday night, in honor of Shemini Atzeret, and Thursday night, for Simchat Torah, we take out the Torah scrolls and dance with them. Seemingly, both the holiday and the custom seem out of place! The Torah was given on Shavuot, Several months ago. Why make Simchat Torah now? We conclude the reading of the entire Torah and begin again on Simchat Torah. But why don’t we do that on Shavuot? Furthermore, why do we rejoice by dancing with the Torah? Torah is made for studying. Why don’t we rejoice by studying all night?
After the Torah was given, Moshe shattered the first Tablets in response to the sin of the golden calf. Thereafter, he beseeched Hashem to forgive the Jewish people. On Yom Kippur, Hashem fully forgave the Jewish people and Moshe brought down the second Tablets. Together with the second Tablets, he was given a much deeper insight into the Torah. Since the second tablets are the tablets that remained, we celebrated Simchat Torah and conclude the cycle of reading the Torah in connection with the date of their being given. Yom Kippur rightfully should be celebrated as Simchat Torah, but since it is a day of fasting and atonement, we celebrate Simchat Torah shortly thereafter.
As aforementioned, together with the second tablets we received a new depth in Torah. Seemingly, to demonstrate forgiveness, it would have sufficed to merely replace the previous Tablets. Why then were we granted new depths? When a person does a sin, and thereafter does Teshuvah to the extent that Hashem forgives him, his bond with Hashem becomes stronger than before. The bond of the soul to Hashem is compared to a rope. When a rope tears and is tied back together, the knot is much thicker than the original rope. Similarly, When the Jewish people repented after the sin of the golden calf, the bond with Hashem was strengthened. Therefore, new depths in the Torah were revealed, symbolizing the deeper bond.
In our connection to Hashem through Torah, there are different levels. Our minds are connected to the Will of Hashem via studying the Torah. On a deeper plane, our very essence is bound to Hashem through the essence of Torah. This is the bond we celebrate Simchat Torah. Therefore we take the Torah in its entirety, while it is covered, and rejoice with it. We rejoice with our whole being, which is expressed through dancing. As we dance, all of us are equal, because every Jew’s essence is one with the essence of Torah.
During the Yom Kippur war, the Rebbe raised the question how can we rejoice when our brothers are in danger? He explained that since we are in the time the Torah requires us to rejoice, our rejoicing brings Hashem’s protection to the Jews in Israel. Joy is always a vessel for blessing, whether it be protection from evil or sustenance and well being. This is especially true in troubled times, when joy is an expression of faith that all will be well.
Whatever we sought to accomplish through prayer on Rosh Hashanah can be accomplished through dancing and rejoicing on Simchat Torah. May we go from the joy of Simchat Torah to the celebration of Moshiach’s coming!!
Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom,
Breishit- Digging Deeper
Mevarchim Cheshvan-Rosh Chodesh is next Friday and Shabbat
The Molad is Thursday October 23rd 9:02 and 6 Chalakim p.m.
Shalom and Bracha!
This Shabbat we bless the month of Cheshvan and read the portion of Breishit, the narrative of creation. Being that this is the first regular Shabbat of the year, and the portion is the beginning of the Torah and the story of creation, the way we conduct ourselves this Shabbat sets the tone for the entire year. As we enter this Shabbat immediately following two days of rejoicing with the Torah, we have a special potential for a joyous and festive year.
Concerning the creation of Chava (Eve), we find two seemingly contrary statements in Rashi. By understanding them more clearly, we can gain a deeper perspective both in the world at large and the Mitzvot (commandments) of Hashem.
Explaining the verse (2;18) “Hashem said it is not good that Adam is alone, I shall create a partner to assist him”, Rashi comments that were Adam to be unique in the earthly sphere just as Hashem is unique in the heavenly sphere, there would be confusion and Adam would be viewed as a deity. Two verses later, commenting on the verse “Adam gave names to all of the animals, the birds, and living creatures, but found no mate for Adam” Rashi explains that When Hashem brought the animals in front of Adam, he bought them in pairs. Adam questioned Hashem “All creatures have mates and I have no mate?” Immediately, Hashem created Chava.
Seemingly, there is a contradiction. At first it seems that Adam’s being alone could cause confusion in the creation, and that was the reason for her creation. Then it seems that Adam’s loneliness was the cause. In truth, both are correct. G-d’s will was that Chava should be created for the perfection of the creation. He waited, however, until Adam would appreciate the need for a wife a pray for her creation.
This gives us an insight to the entire creation. Everything which occurs is part of a wider divine plan. Even those thing which we understand their purpose, have a deeper purpose in the grand scheme of the universe. Similarly, those commandments of the Torah which seem to have an understanding in human logic, although the understanding is true, there is a deeper meaning (or many) in Hashem’s plan of the universe.
The second verse of the creation is “The earth was chaos and void and darkness covered the depths and the Spirit of G-d (Ruach Elokim) hovered over the waters.” The Midrash explains that the Spirit of G-d was the spirit of Moshiach. The spirit of Moshiach preceded creation because every aspect of the creation is meant to contribute to his coming. Therefore, although many things in the world seem contrary to the Spirit of Moshiach, they in fact can be used to reveal Moshiach in the world. This is understood by the Ruach hovering over the darkness and chaos. May we see that the current darkness is only a preparation for the time when the knowledge of Hashem will fill the earth as water fills the ocean.
Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov,
Dedicated to Jordana Pomeranc and David Benharrouch on the occasion of their wedding. May their home always be filled with rejoicing and Kedushah
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