Will you step forward to dance with the Torah?
Will you remain content watching from the side-lines?
Will you self-consciously say ‘thank you I’m ok’ when invited you to join the dance circle or hold the Torah?
The Torah reading for Simchat Torah begins with Vezot ha-Bracha followed by Bereshit.
Rabbi Yehudah Aryeh Leib of Gur (1847–1905) notes that the letterbet of Bereshit symbolizes Bracha, blessing, and so the Torah begins with blessing and concludes with blessing in Vezoht ha- Bracha, pointing to its essence: blessing.
God bestows the blessing as the ‘noten hatorah’ and the Jewish people in turn are a vessel to hold the blessing. This is what happens on Simchat Torah.
On a personal level, by putting our arms around the Torah, we turn ourselves into a container that holds it, both physically and spiritually.
On a communal level, as we join hands to form a dance circle, we unite create a larger container of love around the Torah.
In this way we turn the mystical words of The Zohar into reality:
Kudsha Beri-hu, veOrayta veYisrael chad
The Holy One, the Torah and the People of Israel are one.
Simchat Torah is an urgent invitation to enact this unity.
Will you take your rightful place?