Simchas Torah is the completion of all the festivals of the month of Tishrie.
The festivals begin, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkois and Shemini Atzeres / that amalgamates all the previous energy into it.
The festivals of Tishrie are comprehensive energies, effecting the whole year.
The purpose of these energies – so we can draw them into the entire year’s service.
As each year something is unique, which is apropos to that year; it makes sense to say that Simchas Torah – the culmination of the general energy of the year – in it, is this uniqueness represented.
This year – as the acronym, “It Will Be The Year of Miracles” has been accepted and spread among the Jewish people – it makes sense that this theme, is represented in this Simchas Torah.
Of course the greatest miracle to occur is the coming of Moshiach.
Furthermore this is related to the day which Simchas Torah – which annually comes on a different day – and this year it is Sunday.
2. Let us begin by first explaining the idea of Simchas Torah.
The Mitvah of the hour is Joy.
Especially we dance with the Sefer Torah.
We dance with the Torah during the Hakafos, where we recite 17 verses – which 17 is the numerical equivalent of Tov/good.
These verses give us reasons to be joyous.
Now it can’t be that they merely tell us to be joyous – this is obvious (including from the fact we are celebrating the completion of the Torah) rather they are giving us an extraordinary proof for an extraordinary joy.
3. To understand this, we preface something interesting, that instead of studying Torah (which would seem a logical mechanism for rejoicing when the Torah has been completed) we dance with it.
So the joy that we are celebrating is beyond intelligence or logical, rather it is the celebration of the fundamental unity of the Jew and God (like the unity of a family which is supra-rational) and simultaneous, this emotion permeates even to the dancing heel.
4. It should be mentioned that these two “extremes” of the joy of Simchas Torah is emphasized in the Torah reading of the day of Simchas Torah.
Simchas Torah stand above and beyond the festivals – even greater than Shemini Atzeres – which collects all the energy of the month.
Together with this, as it is the final festival of the month, it also emphasizes the transition to the service throughout the year.
The final Torah portion is Vzos Habracha and the final verse is regarding “All the miracles and signs Moses did to the eyes of the Jewish people.” This emphasized the contrast of extraordinary wonders, yet as they permeate the physical – leading to starting the Torah anew, “In the beginning God made heaven and earth” as the whole goal is to bring heaven to earth.
4. Based on this we can understand the meaning of the joy, the verses of Ata Haraisa prove.
The First Verse, “Atah Hariasa…” “You have shown empirically that G-d is the king – there is no other besides Him.”
The explanation of this verse from the Alter Rebbe is well known:
“Atah – You” – G-d Himself
“Haraisa” Made yourself known
“Ladas” So you should be known
That “G-d is the king – there is no other besides Him” which refers to two types of Divine understanding.
In this verse we see the contrast – firstly we are referring to the essence of God (who is beyond everyone and everything) yet he reveals Himself empirically (to be known) to the extent that we recognize that nature is really miraculous, to the extent there is nothing besides him – in other words not to say that nature is nothing, rather its essence is Him.
Similarly within the next verse, “Who makes wonderous miracles alone, for his kindness is everlasting” – again we have the contrast of extraordinary miracles – so great, that only He alone understands (as the Baal Shem Tov explains that the one whom the miracle occurs to, realizes not) and yet the whole point of these miracles is an expression of His kindness to man.
This contrast is also emphasized in the future verse, for example, “There is none like you God, and none like your works” – so we have both the greatness of God, and as it extends to the physical.
Similarly all the verses of Ata Hariesa, they emphasize this incredible joy, of the Jewish people’s connection to the Divine and the Divine connection, down to the nitty-gritty.
5. Let us explain even deeper:
The Verse “You have shown empirically that G-d is the king – there is no other besides Him” of-course refers to the time when G-d revealed Himself at the giving of the Torah, which is also a foretaste of the revelation which will occur in the messianic age.
Now though it is the deeds of man that cause the messianic revelation – as so God created… – nonetheless it is obvious that the world was set up in such a way (so inherent in the world, is the revelation of Moshiach.)
As we know the verse state “the spirit of God hovered over the waters (in the beginning of creation) and Rashi comments, this was the spirit of Moshiach – for Moshiach is here (just waiting to be revealed.)
Now if this is so regarding the creation, it is infinitely more so regarding the Jew – that as his power/ability to manifest the Divine, hence from his very being, this extraordinary capacity is there.
This also explains the famous story that Rabbi Yehoishua Ben Levi asked Moshach, “when is the Master coming?” so he replied “today” – when the day went by and he did not come, he went back to him – so he explained, “Today, if you listen to God” – seemingly Moshiach should have said it in the reverse, “if you listen to God, Moshiach will come today” (and so should he have said to begin with…) however, in actual fact, the state of Moshiach always is there – it is only that to manifest it, we must listen.
6. This now explains an extraordinary concept, that it is not that we are merging two opposite realities, heaven and earth, God and man etc. rather these are actually one concept – the physical earth and the physical Jew were created with God.
This is also the idea of dancing with the Torah – it is not that the highest permeates the lowest (the Divine to the heel as mentioned) rather they are simply one.
This is also the concept that during the day Hakafos, we circle the Bima three and a half times (in contrast to the seven at night) for the other half is created by our twin – God – to the extent that we are one.
7. Based on this we understand that Hakafois is intimately connected to the revelation of Moshiach.
Firstly the verse Atah Haraisah, “You have shown empirically that G-d is the king – there is no other besides Him” will happen in completion in the era of Moshiach.
And in the concluding Pasuk – “From Zion will come forth Torah, and the word of God from Yerushalayim.”
Similarly the sixteen verses in-between:
- “Your kingship is the kingship of all the worlds, and you reign from generation to generation.”
In other words, that God is the God of all universes, time, space, and people.
- “We will say, on that day, ‘Here is God, we awaited him, and he saved us, we awaited him, let us rejoice and celebrate in His salvation.”
The contrast is that “we will say on that day” – day refers to revelation – “here is God” – refers to the concealed level beyond human understanding – so the concealed shall become revealed.
- “For David your servant, turn not the face of your Moshiach.”
David as his humility to God was so great, he merited to be the fourth level of the Merkavah (following Avrohom, Yitzchok and Yaakov.)
- “The Cohanim shall garb themselves in righteousness, and your pious one’s shall praise you.”
This refers to the service of the Cohanim in the Beis Hamikdosh and the Levim too.
- “And it will be when the Aron travels, and Moshe said ‘Arise God and disperse your enemies, and may your enemies flee from before you.”
That though there were enemies who were against redemption and the building of the Beis Hamidkosh, they too were transformed.
- “May our words be favorable before, the master of all.”
These are the words of Moses – including the Moses within us all – that our words are accepted by God.
- “God will give strength to His people, God will bless His people with peace.”
This refers to the revelation of Matan Torah until its completion in the Messianic era.
- “God was, is, and always will be King.”
The revelation of God in all levels, of past, present and future.
- And say “Save us God our savior and gather us and redeem us from the nations to praise your holy name and frolic in your glory.”
This is the prayer of all Jews – men, women and children – for redemption.
- “May God be with us as he was with our ancestors – may he not abandon us nor forsake us.”
This is as the Previous explains that though we cannot compare to ancestors, we request to be saved from exile.
- “May the name of God be blessed forever, from now to eternity.”
The revelation of the name of God in an eternal way.
- “May the glory of God be eternal – may God rejoice in His creations.”
Through the creations that are created from the essence of God – this brings God joy.
- “There is none like you God, and none like your handiwork.”
This is the revelation of the infinity of God in the details of creation.
- And according to Chabad custom we add, “And may your children be like the dirt of the ground, and may they spread east and west, north and south, and may all the nations of the world through them be blessed.”
That all these things happen in an extraordinary fashion and all the nations of the world feel it, as it states “then I will transform the nations into a single tongue etc. and they will serve together (God.)”
8. This is also the concept of (as it is this year) Rosh Hashana as well as Shemini Atzaeres / Simchas Torah, the first day is on Shabbos and the second is Sunday – as is known, Shabbos is higher – a spiritual day – and the first day is the manifestation of the higher in the lower.
9. As we transition to the year, we must go with the firm conviction that this is God’s world awaiting redemption.
10. This is also why we can work with a duality – awaiting Moshaich this moment and also concomitantly structure good missions for the future – for as Moshiach is the essence of reality, all we are doing is revealing.
And may it be God’s will and this is the main thing, that Moshaich literally comes today!
Especially in merit that we accept upon ourselves good resolutions to add in all matters of Torah and Mitzvos – adding in learning Torah (especially about Moshiach) in addition to the standard daily classes in Chitas and Rambam and we should add in doing Mitzvos carefully, especially the Mitzvah of Tzeddakah.
As we know, Tzeddakah brings Moshiach closer – beginning with giving Tzeddakah daily – and each person doing their specific mission, but with all of their energy!