As great as the celebrations of Sukkos are, they are surpassed by the rejoicing of Simchas Torah. Go to any Jewish community and see for yourself. All reservations disappear in the exuberant dancing of Simchas Torah. Every Jew feels a natural desire to take a Torah scroll in his arms and celebrate. Hidden resources of joy, energies which we did not know we possessed, surface at this time.

The source for this happiness, the center of attention, are the Torah scrolls. Yet, throughout the entire Hakkafos celebrations, the Torah is never opened; we dance while holding it wrapped in its mantle.

Herein lies the explanation for the joy of Simchas Torah. There are two dimensions to the Torah: an intellectual dimension, an aspect that we approach with our minds, and an essential dimension, the aspect of the Torah that is bonded to G‑d in His infinity and that cannot be accessed through mere intellect. To emphasize that it is this dimension of the Torah that we wish to access, we don’t open the scroll to see its wisdom. We dance with it while it is closed, seeking to find a point of infinity in our souls that can relate to this unbounded dimension of the Torah.

Were our happiness to be dependent on our understanding or observance, we would open the Torah and relate to its content. But when it’s closed, we are relating to its essence and that essence is shared by all Jews equally. Each one of us become the Torah’s feet, as it were, clutching it and carrying it around in joyous celebration.

Looking to the Horizon

When speaking of the Ultimate Redemption, it is written: “Then our mouths will be filled with laughter and our tongues with joyous song” and the prophets speak of us returning to Eretz Yisrael “crowned with eternal joy.”

Happiness is not only a result of the redemption; it is a catalyst for it. When we realize how we are living in G‑d’s world and have the opportunity to relate to Him through the Torah and its mitzvos, we will naturally be happy. That happiness will be contagious, spreading to all the people around us, encouraging them to seek its source in the Torah and to adapt their lives accordingly, modeling their lives on G‑d’s law.