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Insights & Essays

Timely Messages & Thoughts

Essays on the significance of the joyous holiday of Simchat Torah, and its modern-day relevance.

The Holiday That Doesn't Fit
Is Simchat Torah off the map?
The sequence of festivals makes sense only once you look beneath the surface. For Simchat Torah, very deeply.
Is It True That Jews Dance With Books?
On the absurdity of Simchat Torah
Books are for reading. For understanding. For discussing. Dancing? Really? Does anybody do this?
Why Jews Dance in Circles
For seven days of Sukkot, Jews walk around in circles, carrying an assortment of green and yellow flora. Then, on Simchat Torah, they dance in circles carrying Hebrew scrolls, working up to a frenzy.
Shemini Atzeret: Praying for Rain
At times G‑d assumes a posture of justice, and at times He assumes a only posture of kindness.
What Shemini Atzeret Teaches Us About Inclusiveness
Why a circle dance? Why move in such a way that you don’t get any further than when you started?
Walking the Distance, Feeling the Closeness
The Tahaluchah Experience
It’s Yom Tov, and scores of Chabad chassidim are leaving the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn on foot—some walking as far as Queens and Upper Manhattan! No, it’s not some fitness craze. It’s Tahaluchah.
Why Eat Stuffed Cabbage on Simchat Torah?
I was wondering, what’s the connection between stuffed cabbage and Simchat Torah? Or is it just something my mom did?
A Deeper Look at Shemini Atzeret / Simchat Torah
One holiday or two? Do we eat in the Sukkah? What are we celebrating?
On Yom Kippur, G‑d forgives us. A week and a half later, it is time to celebrate the atonement we've attained, time to rejoice with "the second tablets."
Souls in the Rain
As in a marriage, when the wedding-party is over, the couple's true intimate life begins. Shemini Atzeret is described as the "time of intimacy with the Divine." At this time, we ask for rain - the symbol of intimacy between heaven and earth.
Love, Marriage and Hakafot
"I love my wife," said Berl. "That's why I do everything she asks me to do. She says, 'Berl, please take out the garbage,' and right away, I take out the garbage." We all agreed that Berl loves his wife.
Torah in the Winter
Why do we celebrate our relationship with the Torah on Simchat Torah, and not on Shavuot, the day we received the Torah?
Circular Logic
The breaking of the Tablets? I thought we were past that? That was the beginning of the journey, 94 days ago. This was supposed to be its culmination! Are we turning the clock back?
A Belated Celebration
Why celebrate our connection to the Torah more than four months after the date when it was given?
The source for our happiness on Simchat Torah, the center of attention, is of course the Torah. Yet, throughout the entire Hakkafos celebrations, the Torah is never opened...
Getting Real
Do you work in order to holiday, or do you holiday in order to work?
Lifting Your Feet
When we lift our feet, committing ourselves to one more good deed, our minds, and the Torah we are holding, are also able to dance...
Simchat Torah Questionnaire
Please take a few moments to mentally fill out this form. Please think neatly and clearly, so that your answers are thinkable and organized.
I'm a Jew and I'm Proud
Before we roll back the Torah to Bereishit, let us reflect for a moment on Moses' final words: "Fortunate are you, O Israel…"
The Dedication of the Holy Temple
After you build the Holy Temple, take it home with you, allow the holiness to be part of your daily life.
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