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Home > Holidays > Simchat Torah: The Beginning of the End

Simchat Torah: The Beginning of the End

Staff Writer
October 20, 2000

Simchat Torah is one of the most simply complex holidays of the Jewish year. At first glance, it couldn't be more direct. We get to the end of the Torah, we rejoice and dance that we got there and we unwrap and rewrap and begin again.

Simple, right? As my eight year old son, Vajih, would say, "Yeah, right! Give me a break!"

It takes an entire year of steady and stable perseverance to get to Simchat Torah. Skip one week of regular Torah reading, and we don't finish in time. Go too fast, and we upset the balance and historical steps that have gotten the Jewish people to this point.

Simchat Torah always brings a bit of peaceful pause to my fall every year, this year not withstanding. Its been particularly warm this autumn, and I am impatiently watching mountains of leaves grow around the yard, grass moaning to be cut, hedges and trees awaiting their fall trimming, and parched porch railings crying out for a last coat of paint before winter. I, as always, find myself too busy with other things to commit to such time consuming tasks.

Yet, there seems to be a natural time and place for me to attack the impending yard work. I've had other things to attend to-work responsibilities, family needs, community activities and simcha events. If I rush or neglect any one of them they will either be left undone, or not be finished as they are meant to be.

The priority always lies within community and shared events. Work, of course, a wedding, a concert given by a friend-everything else, if attacked with the steady force of persistence, will get done as its meant to be, within the cycle of God's time. Simchat Torah reminds me that the yard work is not exempted from this amazing reality. It will get done (I hope!) eventually.

Coming to Simchat Torah, I am once again filled with joy, and a peaceful calm replaces my hurried and stressful fretting over what has yet to be done. The entire past year is unwrapped before my eyes, as my community dances and sings without restraint-children marching with flags and small torahs, men dancing with one another with a glee rarely seen outside of Purim, and the women excitedly laughing and stepping in time.

I am reminded to not rush through life this year. To take the time to stop, and pause for a moment, and to sing, and rejoice with other Jews and celebrate the amazing cycle of life as a Jew. The absolute perfection of the Torah, completes only when eternally connected, as the end enjoins with the beginning in a fluid, endless circle.

As the Torah is unrolled another year of accomplishment, of sorrow, of joy, of progress, of setbacks, of life, and of death comes to an end amidst the overwhelming clamor of the entire Jewish nation. Without skipping a beat, an entire year is wrapped up before us as the Torah rolled back again, so Genesis jumps forth from the scroll beneath the yad. A year of promise, of hope, of strength, of community and of God will rest before us, unfolding in a steady, progressive pace. In God's time.

Copyright ©, 2000. May not be reproduced without written permission.

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