Menachem Bluming Muses: Why Dance on Simchat Torah

The Torah is our guidebook for life studied by scholars for the past 3,300 years. The breadth and depth of Jewish scholarship has spawned thousands of brilliant published works deciphering and applying every word and nuance of Jewish law and teaching. Jews are not meant to just memorize and repeat words robotically but rather to plumb the depths and intellectually grasp their wisdom.

Yet on the day on which we celebrate the completion of the annual cycle of the Torah, Simchat Torah, we celebrate by dancing and rejoicing rather than by studying. Doesn’t that seem incongruous with the purpose and focus of the Torah?

Here are some thoughts for you to consider:

If you had two employees to hire and one of them had great enthusiasm and joy for your company and its mission would you see that as an advantage? In what way does our celebrating demonstrate our acceptance and commitment more than study?

Beyond an intellectual pursuit, the Torah is a marriage. We stick together through the vicissitudes of life and we never let go. At a wedding you dance and celebrate not just discuss the nuances of married life.

Dancing unites us, study categorizes us into different levels of intellectual ability. Every one of us have a connection with the Torah because it is our inheritance and even a child of one-day old inherits equally with a much older sibling. Anyone can dance but not everyone has the intellectual ability to study a deep page of the Talmudic tractate of Yevamos or Uktzin. On Simchat Torah we celebrate our unity because no one owns the Torah more than you do.

So let’s dance and celebrate our eternal treasure; the Torah!

Mendel (Menachem) Bluming

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