It was a tired but happy Mendy who walked, or rather dragged his feet alongside his father as they left the shul on Simchas Torah after hakkafos.

“I never danced so much in my life,” he said. “And I wasn’t the only one. You know, Tatti, I couldn’t believe how no one paid attention to who they were or how they looked. My teacher, who is usually so strict and proper, took my hands and made me jump up and down until I was out of breath. And old Mr. Kamen, who never lets kids near him, was twirling around with the wildest bunch. And you should have seen Shlomie, my counselor from camp. He is such a particular person — everyone used to say that he irons his T-shirts! But tonight Zalmie was on his shoulders squashing his hat and crinkling his suit, yet he didn’t seem to mind at all.”

“Mendy,” replied his father. “That is just what Simchas Torah is all about: a Jew reaching deep inside and expressing his real self.

“What are we celebrating, after all? The conclusion of the reading of the Torah. And the Torah ends with the words: ‘before the eyes of all Israel.’ The nation of Israel is one people — united with Ahavas Yisrael.

“This doesn’t come automatically; each of us is different, yet we can go beyond these outer differences and reach into our real selves, where our neshamah lies. Everyone’s neshamah is part of HaShem, and this unites us. On Simchas Torah, we reach into that level, and are not concerned with how we are different from each other, but only with that which makes us one.

“And in this parshah we also read ‘Torah tzivah lanu Moshe.’ That is one of the first things a parent teaches a Jewish child.”

“Yes, I know,” said Mendy. “Mommy always puts little Yossi to sleep with that song. But actually, I wondered about that, Tatti. Yossi doesn’t understand the words at all. She could be singing him the Alef-Beis and it wouldn’t make any difference to him!”

“That’s just the point. We teach it to a young child even when he does not understand, so that we may remind ourselves that no matter how much Torah we learn, it remains far beyond our understanding; it’s HaShem’s wisdom. When we study Torah with this in mind, we go beyond our regular selves, and discover that, deep inside, we have a sense of HaShem’s holiness which is beyond our understanding.

“So it’s no surprise that on the day we read parshas V’Zos HaBerachah and celebrate Simchas Torah, we are all going way beyond our regular selves.”

(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Vol. II, p. 435ff; Vol. IV, p. 1166ff)