Get the best of content every week!
Find answers to fascinating Jewish questions, enjoy holiday tips and guides, read real-life stories and more!

Shemini Atzeret / Simchat Torah Stories

A Crown of Slippers... Fire Consumes Fire... People of the Book... Simchat Torah, Vilna, 1945... Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1970...

A Crown of Slippers
Angels don’t say l’chaim on Simchat Torah, so they arose to sing G-d’s praises in the heavens at the usual time. They found heaven littered with strange objects: torn slippers, broken heels. "Yes," admitted the angel Michoel, "this is my merchandise"
Hakafot in Liozna
Many of the guests who came to spend Simchat Torah with the Rebbe that year arrived in Liozna with frostbitten fingers and toes, and many had fallen ill from the unexpected cold.
The soldier stared at the boy, fighting back tears. "Over these four terrible years, this is the first live Jewish child I have seen..."
Dancing With the Torah
I was first called to the Torah at the age of 36. It was a short walk to the reading table, but in that brief period of time I became very anxious about what would be expected of me...
People of the Book
Why does she take the word of an archeologist at face value, while rejecting the historic testimony of an entire nation? Why do I accept an ancient document filled with puzzling statements as my guide for 21st-century living?
The Power of Joy
The rebbe heard his words, sighed, and remained silent. A reaction that certainly did not bode well . . .
Dancing With G-d
In the gas chambers, one boy shouted: "Brothers! Today is the holiday of Simchat Torah. We do not have clothes to cover us, nor a Torah scroll with which to dance. So let us dance with G‑d Himself—who is surely here among us."
Simchat Torah of a Cantonist
At the height of the rejoicing, one of the old soldiers, while dancing with a Scroll of the Torah in his arms, would puff his shirt open, disclosing deep scars on his chest and shoulders, and would sing, "Torah, Torah, I love you..."
The Anatomy of an Encounter
The Rebbe and Benjamin Netanyahu
Netanyahu recalls sitting in his office when there was a knock on the door. "There is this gentleman who wants to see you. He says he knows you." In comes this strapping chassid, with a beard and peyot. "Do I know you?" Netanyahu said...
R. Levi Yitzchak's
Finally, in a dramatic denouement, Levi Yitzchak placed the tallit firmly back in its place and announced: “If you’re a chassid and a scholar, then you lead the prayers!” and stalked back to his seat near the side wall of the synagogue . . .
When the Rebbe Invited Louis the Drunk
Louis had sadly become a drunk and had drifted away from family life. "Do you know if anyone might know how to contact him?" the Rebbe asked.
This is the new Jewish community of Russia. The small core of Jews that held steadfast to tradition during the Communist era has either passed on or emigrated abroad. Today, young people fill the synagogues alongside the nouveau riche.
From Auschwitz to Israel, the Saga of a Long-Lost Mini-Torah
How a journalist made a priceless personal discovery
Simchat Torah in the Nazi Labor Camp
How did the shoemaker lay his hands on the precious artifact? No one knew.
The Torah Saved by the Soviet Policeman
The Torahs were technically considered state property and that tampering with them could result in the harshest punishments.
Was I Wrong to Ask for a Drink?
One Simchat Torah, a group of boisterous villagers burst through the entrance in high spirits . . .
Related Topics
Kids Zone
Find Services
Audio Classes
This page in other languages