Dear Friend,

On Simchat Torah, I usually put on comfortable shoes for hours of dancing and lively festivities. My most memorable Simchat Torah, though, was spent in a quiet hospital room. In the wee hours of the night, my husband softly sang a holiday tune and danced around the narrow space, our hours-old firstborn son gently cradled in his arms.

Simchat Torah marks the conclusion of the yearly Torah-reading cycle, and immediately afterward, the beginning of the new cycle. At this auspicious time, it seems appropriate to utilize every moment for marathon Torah-study sessions and inspiring classes. Why is it that we spend hours singing and dancing?

The chassidic masters explain that we dance with Torah scrolls rolled tightly closed, for the Torah belongs to every Jew equally, no matter one’s level of scholarship. We dance together as equals, learned scholar and newborn infant alike. The Torah is the priceless heritage of every Jew, and we all celebrate G‑d’s precious gift together.

This year, join a local Simchat Torah celebration, and rejoice in your inheritance. And then take a few minutes to become better acquainted with the Torah, at a local Torah class or (after the holiday) on It’s yours, after all. Embrace it!

Rochel Chein,
Responder for Ask the Rabbi @

P.S.: Do you have a favorite Simchat Torah memory? Please share it by leaving a comment.