Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Getting to True Love.... with God

Something Short on Simchat Torah:

We are getting closer to the end of a long process which we started in Ellul... I spoke a few times already about this process but i think i got a new perspective on it.


We start the process with Ellul, Rosh Hashana, Kippur, all of them revolve around the theme of personal individual growth. We try to make ourselves as good as we can, as holy as we can, ... but why exactly? What are we aiming for?

In essense, all of this preparation is to make us worthy to enter a deep relationship with God. Right after the end of Kippur, Askenazim say "LEshana Habbaa Biyerushalaim". They basically say, "God, I want you to bring me into your palace". We had a great Yom Kippur, Take your bride in your palace! Right after, we start building the sukkah... The Sfat Emet says that the sukkah is really like a chuppah, a chuppah for Am Israel and God. We are building our chuppah and sukkot is when we go under the chuppah with God. After Kippur we have become worthy of this relationship and now we are entering in it.
Then, we have simchat torah which really is a wierd holiday. Technically, Simchat Torah is supposed to be on Yom Kippur, since that is when we received the second tablets but for some reason, they put it at the end of this process. There is nothing being celebrated about the day of Simchat Torah, rather, God did not want to leave us. He loved the honeymoon (sukkot) and wants to extend it. This is true love.

If we compare both times we recieved the torah and the way we celebrate, we can really get to the bottom of the meaning of Simchat Torah...
On Shavuot, we sit and learn all night. Learn and learn and learn... All year long we actually learn.. On Simchat Torah, we don't even open the torah! We just take it, hug it, and dance with it... That’s Dvekut! Thats the climax of our relationship with God!

The deeper message of simchat torah is that while all year long we are rationalists about the torah and judaism, learning it intellectually and all, on simchat torah, our rational minds concede that there are things which transcend rationality. Love doesn't have to always make sense... You can have Dvekut without even opening the book!

I feel sometimes when I see some chozrim bitchouva... they have so much more passion then me. Sometimes I look at people and say: "Wow, these people know how to pray!" and yet, I know they are not the most advanced scholars in Jewish Thought.In some ways, its because they know so much less... rationality limits your ability to feel intensly, knowledge can often limit emotion. But a truly rational person will realize that there is more then rationality in this world, some things that we can't understand.. and I think thats the key for us to keep feeling the same passion every day and to stay chozrim bitchouva all our lives. Before even opening the Torah, we Hug it, We dance with it!
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