Simchat Torah

Gratitude and Simchat Torah

June 29, 2006

Did the angels agree that Man should be given the Torah?

Not at first, according to the Midrash. However, when they protested, G-d told Moshe to answer them. He said to them, “Do you have parents, that you should need a command to honor and fear them? Do you have jealousy, that you should need a command not to covet? Do you use money, that you should need a command not to steal?”

When the angels heard Moshe’s questions, they could not answer them. They agreed that the Torah should be given to Man.

What is the attitude of the Jewish People regarding the Torah?

On this joyous holiday, tremendous gratitude is expressed towards Hashem for giving us His great gift, the Torah.

What is the spirit in the synagogue on this holiday?

In general, a spirit of solemnity and dignity surrounds the Service. However, a certain amount of levity is sometimes permitted, with children allowed to do harmless pranks, and the Service is sometimes conducted to melody medleys of operas, show tunes and other music not usually heard in the synagogue.

What is a great example of the spiritual power of Simchat Torah?

It was the celebration of this holiday by Jews in the former Soviet Union, when they had little knowledge of Judaism, and in an environment where Jewish Education was an offense punishable by harsh prison sentences, if not worse, that kept their faith alive throughout the bulk of this century.