1. Simchas Torah marks the culmination of the month of Tishrei, in which all the holidays have general significance for the entire year. Simchas Torah helps us bring the influence and effects of these holidays into our everyday service of G‑d during the year. And because of this relationship, the special quality of the specific year is reflected in the Simchas Torah of that year.

By widespread Jewish custom, this year, 5750 (tof, shin, nun), is read as an abbreviation of the phrase, “It shall be a year of miracles” (T’hei Shnas Nisim). This refers in particular to the miracle of primary importance: the final and total redemption through Mashiach. And we find this theme of redemption stressed in Simchas Torah in general, as well as in the day upon which it falls this year, on a Sunday.

We can understand this through first examining more deeply the meaning of Simchas Torah. Its main theme is that of joy, particularly that of dancing with the Torah scroll. The dancing is preceded by the recital of 17 verses, which “give reasons for this joy.”

This raises several questions. First of all, how do these verses give reasons for this joy? Secondly, why do we need any reasons or explanations? Upon finishing the entire Torah, and immediately beginning it anew, it is only natural to experience tremendous joy. We must conclude that these verses do not just justify the joy of Simchas Torah (which, as mentioned above, needs no explanation), but explain an apparent paradox associated with this joy.

Since Torah is G‑d’s wisdom, one would expect our joy to be expressed by Torah study; and in particular by clarifying puzzling subjects, since “there is no joy like being released from doubt.” Nevertheless, the main joy of Simchas Torah is not learning, but dancing with the Torah scroll. Furthermore, we dance with it still covered, in a way that it cannot possibly be studied.

The reason for this is that the joy of Simchas Torah is associated with two diametrically opposed aspects. On the one hand, we rejoice on Simchas Torah because of our connection with G‑d which transcends the whole idea of reason and understanding. This is referred to in Zohar as the Kesser Torah” of Simchas Torah, just as a crown (“kesser") is worn above the head (corresponding to reason).

On the other hand, the joy of Simchas Torah permeates and captivates the entire person — down to his feet. This is stressed by dancing, which is done with the feet.

The Torah reading of Simchas Torah also contains this juxtaposition of two extremes. The last verse of the Torah speaks of, “all the signs and wonders...that Moshe performed before the eyes of all Israel” — i.e. signs and wonders which transcended the natural order of existence. We immediately begin reading the Torah from the beginning, and read about the creation and the revelation of G‑dliness within this particular world. This represents the same combination of opposites: that the level of G‑dliness which transcends the world must nevertheless be drawn into and permeate the world.

This idea of connecting opposites is repeated throughout the verses which precede the dancing of Hakkafos. The first verse, “You have been shown to know that the L‑rd is G‑d (Havayah hu HaElokim); there is none else aside from Him.” The Alter Rebbe explained that “You” refers to the very essence of G‑d. Yet even this ultimate form of holiness is brought down to the level of knowledge (“to know”), to the extent that even the G‑dliness within nature (Elokim) is recognized as being higher than nature.

Similarly with the second verse, “[Give thanks] to Him who alone performs great wonders, because His kindness is eternal (l’olam).” These great wonders have their source in the essence of G‑d, and are so high that they are only recognized as miracles by G‑d Himself (“alone”). And why does He bring such miracles? “Because His kindness is l’olam,” i.e. He desires revealed G‑dliness (“His kindness”) down here in this world (olam).

The same idea is found in the other verses which precede Hakkafos. They all come to explain the real joy of Hakkafos: a joy in the fact that one is united with G‑d in a way that transcends intellect, and that this sublime unity permeates one’s existence down to one’s feet. This combination of opposites also resembles the Messianic Age, in which G‑d’s essence will be revealed in every segment of the physical world.

According to this explanation, these two extremes are opposites which are nevertheless combined. But on a deeper level, the apparent opposites really coincide.

Our Sages say that the world was originally created with the Messianic Age in mind. In fact, the perfection of the days of Mashiach was present from the moment of creation, although in a concealed form. When Mashiach comes, it will not be a true “innovation” in the creation, since everything has already been present from the very beginning. It is only necessary to reveal the true essence and underlying G‑dliness in the creation.

This idea helps explain a puzzling story in the Talmud (Sanhedrin 98a). When Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi asked Mashiach when he will come, he answered, “Today.” Having spread the good news to everyone, he was obviously disappointed when the “promise” was not fulfilled. After asking Eliyahu HaNavi for an explanation, he learned that Mashiach’s full statement was the phrase from Tehillim (95:7), “Today, if you listen to His voice.”

The question arises, if that was what Mashiach meant, why didn’t he say so in the first place? Why should he leave room for misunderstanding, and then have to “correct” the situation by adding explanation?

The answer lies in the idea mentioned above. The truth is that the perfection of the Messianic Age already exists in the world; it must only be revealed. Since everything is ready, Mashiach’s simple answer to the question was, “Today!” Only when it became obvious that Mashiach had not actually come did it become necessary to find an explanation; i.e. that the fault lies in not “listening to His voice.”

The Jewish people also have this holiness concealed within them. All Jews are already bound to G‑d’s essence even before revealing their potential by serving Him. Therefore, the dancing of Simchas Torah does not just involve a combination of opposites, i.e. the most sublime revelation with the feet. In actuality, there are no two opposites, for every Jew is totally united with G‑d, and the dancing just reveals this fact. It becomes clear that every aspect of the person — down to the heel — is united with G‑d.

This unity between G‑d and the Jewish people is even deeper than the unity between G‑d and the Torah. It is for this reason that when dancing Simchas Torah we lift up the Torah. This represents the spiritual reality: that the Jewish people are even higher than the Torah and have the ability to elevate it.

And the connection between us and G‑d is even stronger on the morning of Simchas Torah than the previous night. On the night of Simchas Torah, we encircle the bimah seven times. In the morning, however, we go around three and one half times. The reason for this is that G‑d Himself, so to speak, goes around the other three and one half times. This is similar to the mitzvah of giving the half-shekel. We give only one half because G‑d “contributes” the other half, thereby making up one holy shekel.

2. From the above it is clear that the joy of Simchas Torah and Hakkafos is closely related to the revelation of the Messianic Age. We therefore see that all the 17 verses said before Hakkafos are connected with Mashiach.

1) The first verse, “You have been shown to know that the L‑rd is G‑d, there is none else aside from Him,” refers to the revelation on Mount Sinai. As mentioned above, this involved revealing the essence of G‑d within nature, which will be fully accomplished when Mashiach arrives.

17) The last verse, “For from Zion shall go forth the Torah, and the word of the L‑rd from Jerusalem,” clearly refers to the Messianic Age. In addition, Chassidus explains that “Zion” and “Jerusalem” refer to the levels of G‑dliness which will be revealed in the Messianic Age.

Similarly in the other 15 verses (in reverse order):

16) “Your kingship is a kingship over all worlds, and Your dominion is throughout all generations,” refers to the revelation of G‑dliness which will occur throughout the creation (“over all worlds”).

15) “It will be said on that day: Behold, this is our G‑d in whom we put our hope that He will deliver us; this is the L‑rd for whom we hoped, let us rejoice and delight in His deliverance,” plainly refers to the redemption.

14) “For the sake of David Your servant, do not turn away [the pleas of] Your anointed,” speaks of David as he is “Your anointed” — m’shichechoh.

13) “May Your Kohanim be garbed with righteousness, and Your dedicated Levi’im sing for joy,” speaks of the service of the Kohanim and Levi’im in the Beis HaMikdash.

12) “Ascend, O L‑rd, to Your resting place, You and the Ark of Your might,” speaks of G‑d’s final “resting” in the Beis HaMikdash, and the revelation of His essence (“You” — Atah) in its full strength (“might”).

11) “Whenever the Ark set out, Moses would say, ‘Arise O’ L‑rd, and Your enemies will be dispersed, and Your foes will flee before You,’ ” refers to the dispersion and retreat of all forces which oppose the revelation of Mashiach, and their ultimate transformation to good.

10) The request, “May our words find favor before the Master of all things,” includes the previous statement of Moshe; and since they “find favor before the Master of all things,” they certainly bring about the desired effect.

9) The promise, “The L‑rd will give strength to His people; the L‑rd will bless His people with peace,” was first fulfilled at Mount Sinai. Its total fulfillment, however, will take place only when Mashiach arrives.

8) “The L‑rd is King, the L‑rd was King, the L‑rd will be King forever and ever,” transcending all boundaries of time — also in the Messianic Age.

7) “Help us, G‑d of our salvation, gather us and deliver us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to Your holy Name and glory in Your praise,” is the heartfelt prayer of all the Bnei Yisrael — men, women, and children — for the redemption.

6) “May the L‑rd our G‑d be with us as He was with our fathers, may He not forsake us nor abandon us,” was explained by the Previous Rebbe as follows: although we certainly cannot compare ourselves to our forefathers, we are nevertheless assured that He is with us and will redeem us.

5) “May the Name of the L‑rd be blessed from now to all eternity,” applies when the holy Name Havayah will be fully revealed in the Messianic Age.

4) “May the glory of the L‑rd be forever; may the L‑rd find delight in His works.” This will be fully accomplished when G‑d’s essence is revealed in “His works” — thereby causing great joy above.

3) “There is none like You among the supernal beings, O’ my L‑rd , nor any deeds like Yours,” refers to the essence of G‑d (“there is none like You”) being revealed in finite existence. And the ability to accomplish this derives from,

2) “[Give thanks] to Him who alone performs great wonders” — from “He alone.”

We then conclude: “Most compassionate Father, may it be Your will to do good to Zion; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.” And Chabad custom in past years is to add the verse, “Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth. You shall spread out (uforatzta) to the west, to the east, to the north, and to the south. All the families on earth will be blessed through you and your descendants.” This involves breaking all limitations (uforatzta); to the extent that even “all the families on earth” are transformed to serve G‑d.

3. Everything mentioned above receives additional stress this year — both because of the special quality of the year and the day on which Simchas Torah falls.

The year, 5750 (tof, shin, nun) — “It shall be a year of miracles” (T’hei Shnas Nisim) — points to the final and total redemption through Mashiach. Since this is also the central point of Simchas Torah (as explained above at length), we find the entire year has a special connection with Simchas Torah.

It should also be pointed out that Simchas Torah occurs only after three weeks have passed in this “year of miracles.” The fourth week is associated with the fourth leg of the “Chariot,” which corresponds to David — the Messianic King.

Similarly regarding the day upon which Simchas Torah falls this year, a Sunday. The first Sunday of creation was called “One day,” rather than the “first day.” The reason for this is that on that day G‑d was the sole existence. It would have seemed more appropriate to use the word yachid,” which conveys a more profound oneness. Nevertheless, the word echad is used.

The reason for this is that yachid represents absolute unity with no room at all for other existence. “Echad,” on the other hand, contains the three letters alef, ches, dalet. This indicates that there is an existence of seven heavens and the earth (ches, which has a numerical value of eight), and four corners of the earth (dalet, which equals four) — but that they are all nullified to G‑d (alef). This point is also stressed in the psalm of the day read on every Sunday, which begins, “The earth and all therein is the L‑rd’s.”

The practical lesson from the abovementioned is as follows: On Simchas Torah we conclude the holidays of the month of Tishrei, and prepare to bring their influence into the coming year. We must therefore be acutely aware of the special nature of this “year of miracles” — particularly regarding the redemption. And when we go out to affect and transform the world, we must keep in mind that it and “all therein is the L‑rd’s,” as stressed in the first day of the week.

Simply put, we must serve G‑d while keeping in mind that the time for Mashiach’s arrival is here — “Today!” as mentioned in the Talmudic passage discussed above. Simultaneously, our service must proceed in an orderly, natural manner, planned over weeks, months, etc. But these two attitudes are not contradictory, since our intention is to reveal G‑d in the world as it is; to reveal that the true essence of this very world (with its various limitations) is in reality G‑dliness.

May it be G‑d’s will that Mashiach come immediately, particularly through our resolving to add on in Torah and mitzvos in general; learning Torah — especially the “laws of Mashiach” — in addition to one’s regular portions of Chitas and Rambam; and fulfillment of mitzvos b’hiddur, especially that of charity. This should begin with the charity given for the entire year, that of Keren HaShanah. May this all hasten the arrival of Mashiach, immediately mamash.