שבת טעם החיים שמיני עצרת-שמחת התורה-וזאת ברכה-בראשית תשע”ב
Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Shemini Atzeres-Simchas Torah-Vizos HaBracha-Bereishis 5772
Sukkos, Shemini Atzeres, the end of the Torah and the Beginning of the Torah: What you see is what you get
ביום השמיני עצרת תהיה לכם כל מלאכת עבודה לא תעשו, the eighth day shall be a restriction for you; you shall not do any laborious work (Bamidbar 29:35)
I read something interesting in the Yaavetz Siddur in the commentary on ובא לציון. We recite the wordsברוך הוא אלקינו שבראנו לכבודווהבדילנו מן התועים ונתן לנו תורת אמת, blessed is He, our G-d, Who created us for His glory, separated us from those who stray, gave us the Torah of truth and implanted eternal life within us. The commentary states that at this point one should gather his Tzitzis in front of him and recite the passage with joy that HaShem has chosen us from all the nations and then one will merit Ruach HaKodesh, the Divine Spirit. One must wonder what the connection is between Tzitzis and this passage and meriting Ruach HaKodesh.
On Shemini Atzeres we eat with HaShem alone
In order to understand the connection between Tzitzis and reciting this passage, we need to understand the festival of Shemini Atzeres, which is the last day of Sukkos. The Gemara (Sukkah 55a) states that for seven days of Sukkos the nations of the world are protected by the sacrifices that the Jewish People offer in the Bais HaMikdash. On the eighth day, however, HaShem declares, “make for Me a small feast so that you and I can partake of it together.” Why is it necessary for the Jewish People to have a special time with HaShem at the end of Sukkos? We do not have such an opportunity at the end of Pesach, so what is unique about Sukkos that HaShem requests a meal solely with the Jewish People?
Simchas Bais Hashoeva was the Greatest Sight Ever
Rabbeinu Bachye (Kad Hakemach Sukkah page 279) writes that the word סכה means to see. What is the significance of seeing on Sukkos? In the simple sense, we can suggest that one sits in a Sukkah that is lower than twenty Amos so that he knows that he is sitting in the shade of the Sukkah. In a deeper sense, however, the underlying theme of Sukkos is about how we use our power of vision. The Mishnah (Sukkah 51a) states one who did not witness Simchas Bais Hashoeva did not witness joy in his lifetime. Following the first day of Sukkos, they descended to the Women’s Courtyard and made a great fixing. The Gemara (Ibid 51b) states that the great fixing was that they instituted that the women should sit above and that the men should be below so that they would not engage in frivolous behavior. It would appear from the fact that the Mishnah juxtaposes the statement about witnessing the joy of the Simchas Bais Hashoeva to the separation of men and women that the ideas are related.
One who is Scrupulous in the Mitzvah of Tzitzis Merits Seeing the Divine Presence
In the parashah of Tzitzis we learn one of the most important prohibitions that are recorded in the Torah. It is said (Bamidbar15:39)והיה לכם לציצית וראיתם אותו וזכרתם את כל מצות ה’ ועשיתם אותם ולא תתורו אחרי לבבכם ואחרי עיניכם אשר אתם זנים אחריהם, it shall constitute Tzitzis for you, that you may see it and remember all the commandments of HaShem and perform them; and not explore after your heart and after your eyes after which you stray. After instructing us to wear Tzitzis and to see them, we are commanded to not stray after our hearts and our eyes. Straying after one’s eyes is an explicit prohibition for one to gaze at someone from the other gender. The Gemara (Menachos 44a) relates an incident where one who wore Tzitzis was protected from committing immoral acts. The Gemara (Ibid 43b) further states that one who is scrupulous regarding the mitzvah of Tzitzis merits to see the Divine Presence. When we refer to Ruach HaKodesh, the simple meaning is that one experiences a Divine Vision. Tosfos (Sukkah 50b) quotes the Yerushalmi that states that when Yonah the prophet ascended to the Bais HaMikdash on Sukkos and was present at the Simchas Bais Hashoeva, he merited Ruach HaKodesh, the Divine Spirit. This statement indicates that the Bais HaMikdash was the source for one to attain Ruach HaKodesh. What occurred in the Bais HaMikdash that allowed for these phenomena to occur?
The Bais HaMikdash and Sukkah are similar in Holiness and in one attaining Spiritual Vision
The Yaavetz, I believe, offers us a solution to the riddle. When one praises HaShem for separating us from those who have strayed, he is declaring that he has not strayed after his heart and after his eyes. The nations of the world do not have a prohibition against seeing whatever they wish. Only a Jew, who HaShem has endowed with holiness, can be commanded not to stray after his heart and after his eyes. When a Jew is able to resist the temptation of seeing prohibited matter, he merits Ruach HaKodesh, the Divine Spirit, as this reward is commensurate with his efforts to resist temptation. The Bais HaMikdash was the epitome of holiness on this earth, so every effort was made to ensure that a Jew entering the Bais HaMikdash would experience this holiness. Similarly, when a Jew sits in a Sukkah, he merits being a סוכה, a seer who has spiritual vision. This is the hidden theme of Sukkos, in that we must control our eyes from seeing what is not meant to be seen. By concealing ourselves in the Sukkah we demonstrate that we are preparing ourselves for the year-long battle of avoiding forbidden sights. When HaShem sees that we have committed ourselves to winning this battle, He instructs us to separate from the nations of the world and make a small feast together with Him. What is the meaning of this feast?
Wherever we go we need to Control our Vision
The Sfas Emes writes that the small feast is parallel to the Medrash that states that a small parasha that the essentials of Torah are dependent on it is the verse that states (Mishlei 3:6) בכל דרכיך דעהו, in all your ways know Him. Based on this interpretation of the Sfas Emes, we can suggest that wherever one goes he is faced with temptation of viewing prohibited matter. Thus, when HaShem requests of us to make for him a small feast, He is implying that we should keep our hearts and eyes focused on His service and not allow ourselves to be seduced by foreign influences.
Gazing at our Tzitzis grants us Divine Spirit
We can now understand the power of Tzitzis. From the statement in the Yaavetz Siddur regarding one who grasps his Tzitzis while reciting the passage declaring that HaShem has separated us from those who strayed. By gazing at our Tzitzis we are affirming our allegiance to HaShem and resisting all temptation to sin. HaShem then grants us the gift of Ruach HaKodesh, a Divine Vision that is the reward for our exercising control over the temptations of sight.
“Seeing” at the end of the Torah Allows us to Understand the Purpose of Creation
Shemini Atzeres, in conjunction with Simchas Torah, is a time when we can experience this wonderful gift. On Simchas Torah we conclude the reading of the Torah with the words (Devarim 34:12)לעיני כל ישראל, before the eyes of all of Israel. We then begin the Torah again with the words (Bereishis 1:1) בראשית ברא אלקים, in the beginning of G-d’s creating. The juxtaposition of these two verses is that by using our vision correctly, we merit seeing the purpose of creation, which is for the Jewish People and the study of Torah. HaShem should grant us the fortitude this year to resist temptation and use our vision for the study of Torah and for seeing the good in others. In this merit we should all witness the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu and the Ultimate Redemption, speedily, in our days.
Shabbos in Action through the Prism of the Parashah
The Tikkunei Zohar states that the first word in the Torah, בראשית, contains an allusion to Shabbos, as the word בראשית is an acrostic for the words ירא שבת, fear of Shabbos. It is noteworthy that the next word ברא inא”ת ב”ש is שגת (703), which equals in gematria the word שבת (702).
Dancing With the Torah
He came by my house every six months or so, for a modest contribution to support the immigrant village he helped build in Israel to absorb new arrivals from Russia. His excited, high pitched voice and happy, dancing eyes belied the deep furrows in his brow which were painfully etched by decades of punishment at the hands of the communist authorities for the terrible crime of being an observant Jew in the Soviet Union during the 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s.
It became a ritual. I’d ask the diminutive rabbi if he’d like a bite to eat. He would always counter in his Russian accented Yiddish, “Perhaps, just a glass tea.” My wife would serve him a steaming cup of dark orange brew along with a generous slice of homemade cake, both of which seemed to help straighten his sagging shoulders just a bit. Trudging door to door for small donations, it had certainly been awhile since his last square meal.
He looked up at me and smiled broadly. “Did you know there was such a thing as a Cantonist Shul?”
I remembered stories I heard as a child which described some of the darkest, but most heroic days in Jewish history.
They would be kidnapped from their parents’ home, tortured repeatedly until they either accepted Christianity or died of their wounds.
The Cantonists were Jews who from 1825-1840 were forcibly conscripted into the Russian Czar’s army from as early as the age of 10, and obligated to serve for 25 years. The authorities saw it as a corrective, forced assimilation of stubborn Jews into Russian society. They would be kidnapped from their parents’ home, tortured repeatedly until they either accepted Christianity or died of their wounds.
They were starved, beaten and lashed, often with whips fashioned from their own confiscated Tefillin. In their malnourished states, the open wounds on their chests and backs would turn septic and many boys, who had heroically resisted renouncing their Judaism for months, would either perish or cave in and consent to the show baptism. The Czar would have only reliable Christian Russians defending the motherland.
To avoid this horrific fate, some parents actually had their sons’ limbs amputated in the forests at the hands of local blacksmiths, and their sons — no longer able bodied — would avoid conscription. Many other children tragically committed suicide rather than convert.
Some 40,000 young Jewish boys were forced into Czar Nicholas’ army, and very few emerged alive as practicing Jews.
Even the brave few survivors who secretly maintained their faith and managed to return to their families 25 years later, by and large found themselves shunned as traitors to Judaism.
“The Cantonists actually did have a shul of their own,” the rabbi continued. “After all, they had nowhere else to go.”
“My grandfather told me that he once attended the Cantonist Shul on Simchas Torah. The Cantonists could dance like Cossacks. They were huge, strong men, and the heavy Torah scrolls would seem like toothpicks in their arms. They effortlessly danced on for hours on end. Although they were looked down upon by other Jews, and they were not very learned and really couldn’t observe the Torah properly, they were nonetheless able to rejoice in their Judaism and celebrate the Torah. It was truly amazing.”
He paused long enough to dip a sugar cube into the still hot tea cup, placed the cube in his mouth and swallowed another long swig of the tea.
“Then for the final hakafah (circuit around the synagogue’s central lectern), the Cantonists, as if on cue, suddenly removed their shirts in unison! With the Torahs held tightly to their bare skin which was covered with the ugliest welts and scars you ever saw, they danced around even more energetically. Their smiles were now giving way to streams of tears as they looked out into the crowd of assembled Jews, as if to say, ‘You may have studied and observed this Torah, but we gave our bodies and our lives for it. The Torah is at least as much ours as it is yours!'”
As he put the tea cup down, he couldn’t hide the tremor in his hand which caused a rattled meeting of cup to saucer.
Wiping away a tear with his napkin, he said, “In democratic America it is so easy. Yet so many say, ‘It’s so hard.’ Go figure.”
Dancing with the Rebbe
Nineteen years ago, my 64-year-old father, of blessed memory, passed away rather suddenly just before the High Holidays. Needless to say, it was difficult for me to concentrate on my prayers appropriately. When Simchas Torah came, I couldn’t bring myself to join the others in my synagogue who were dancing with the holy Torah scrolls. So there I stood in a corner, feeling sorry for myself, and then I remembered the following incredible story.
One of the many great heroic personalities to emerge from the Holocaust was Rabbi Yekusiel Yehuda Halberstam, the hassidic grand rabbi of Klausenberg, Romania. Before, after and even during the most hellish experiences he suffered at the hands of the Nazis, the Klausenberger Rebbe was loved and revered for his sheer genius, his selfless devotion to the welfare of the most unfortunate, his piety and his courageous leadership.
Due to his pre-war reputation as a great rabbi, people were attracted to the rebbe and sought his advice and guidance even within the camps. This was not lost on the Germans and they treated the rebbe with special beatings and particular cruelty. The rebbe risked his precarious health by not eating any food that wasn’t kosher or which may have been prepared together with non-kosher food and would regularly use his tiny allotment of drinking water to wash his hands before eating bread, all the while urging others to preserve their own lives by eating anything they could get their unwashed hands on, kosher or otherwise. His admirers and followers sought to protect the rebbe and would risk their lives to help him in any way that they could. They would often make it possible for him to keep Shabbos and Jewish holidays by taking on his workload in addition to their own.
It once happened that the rebbe was able to avoid working on the last days of the Sukkot holiday due to the creative designs of his devoted bunk mates. But somehow the Germans got word of the ruse and forced his followers to watch as they proceeded to administer a savage beating so violent that no one thought the rebbe could survive its ferocity. The Nazis would not allow anyone to go to Rabbi Halberstam’s assistance, even after they were done with him, and they marched everyone out to work, leaving the rebbe in a broken heap on the barracks floor.
As night fell, the Jewish prisoners were marched back into their barracks expecting to mourn the Rebbe’s untimely passing. Instead, they found that their master had miraculously dragged himself over to a post, clawed his way up until he was nearly standing and was swaying back and forth while moving his lips in the hoarsest of whispers. “Rebbe what are you doing?!” his followers exclaimed. “Let us help you down so you can rest!”
The rebbe waved them off. “Children, tonight is Simchas Torah,” he murmured. “Come dance with me.”
I waded into the revolving circle of men who were clutching the Torah to their hearts, and on that particular Simchas Torah night, I walked round and round while in my mind I danced with the rebbe.
A Soviet Simchas Torah
I know I shouldn’t say this, but I used to feel that the Tishrei holiday schedule was rather grueling. Every time you turned around, there was more cooking, more cleaning, more guests, more services, more Shabbos, more Yom Tov. It was exhausting. As a mother of young children with a full time job, I would look forward to Simchas Torah for its signal of the end of the seemingly interminable holiday season.
Then I discovered something that forever changed the way I approach the holiday.
I was born in Minsk in the former Soviet Union. My family, like so many others, immigrated to the U.S. in the late 1970s. I was given life twice: once when I was physically born, and once when my parents had the courage to take me out of Soviet Russia, so that I could have my life, complete with religious observance, a profession, a wonderful family and the panoply of rights and privileges I enjoy. I will always be grateful to God and to my parents for both.
Shortly after the holidays one year, I was discussing our exodus from the Soviet Union with my mother, and she said, “In some ways, Simchas Torah influenced our decision to leave.” Since my mother is not observant, this was a curious statement and I sensed that there was a lesson here.
It is no secret that the former Soviet Union was an inhospitable place for anything Jewish; one’s Jewish identity was a liability, not an asset. But during the 1960s, because Israel was showing its might through its many wars, the Jews of Russia began to feel emboldened, if only slightly. Simultaneously, the American Jewish community began paying attention to the plight of Russian Jewry and initiated great lobbying efforts to pressure the Soviet government to allow Jewish immigration. With both forces converging, Soviet Jews for the first time began considering the previously impossible thought of leaving the Soviet Union for a better life elsewhere.
Equally astounding, beginning in the late 1960s, the Jews of the large cities of the Soviet Union began to congregate periodically in large demonstration-like groups around the state-sanctioned though locked synagogues. The day of these spontaneous gatherings of thousands of Jews in cities across the Soviet Union: Simchas Torah.
“Why Simchas Torah,” I asked my mother. “Why not Rosh Hashana, Passover, Yom Kippur? Who knew the date? How did people find out about it? Who started the practice? Why did you go? What did you do?”
For the Jews of Soviet Russia, Simchas Torah was the one opportunity to celebrate who they were.
My mom thought these were silly questions. “We did it because all the young Jews in the city were going and we found out about it from our friends, and they from their friends. We went, we sang, we danced, we met people we hadn’t seen for a while, we laughed, we read letters from Israel, we exchanged information about immigration and life abroad. It was simply one time a year when we could be unafraid and happy to be Jews, even with the KGB shills in the crowd. The feeling there was profound. We felt our strength. We saw our numbers. We realized who we were and we were proud.”
For the Jews of Soviet Russia, Simchas Torah was the one opportunity to celebrate who they were. They had no other holidays to experience the various aspects of their Jewishness or their connection to each other or to the Eternal. Simchas Torah was it. More specifically, Simchas Torah was a celebration of who they were apart from being Russians, of their separate values, their separate ways, their separate status, and the separate criteria by which they were judged. On all other days, this separateness engendered hostility from their neighbors; on Simchas Torah the separateness was turned on its head and celebrated.
Many Soviet Jews participating in these rallies had never seen the Torah in whose name they celebrated. Yet, by their descriptions of the events, the Torah was never far away. Evgeni Valevich, a Russian Jewish musician, wrote a popular song to reflect the mood at those Simchas Torah celebrations. “As the old cantor sang,” the song goes, “our small nation seems so great.” Amazingly, this pride and sense of nationhood was such a new and unique feeling for so many Jews, it compelled them to transform their lives completely and emigrate.
On Simchas Torah we celebrate the Torah that we just completed reading and studying carefully over the course of the year . We know what it contains. We know the endless joys and depth the Torah’s laws provide for our lives. Yet, as the Soviet celebrations indicate, this joy is not merely academic, it is also intuitive. We know in our hearts that the Torah, its values and the sense of nationhood that is its derivative, are miraculous and we must set aside a special day to celebrate. Even where Jews celebrated nothing else, Simchas Torah, with Torah at its center, is enough to transmit the full weight of what it means to be a Jew.
My mother’s lesson is simple, yet profound: Celebrating the Torah on Simchas Torah is celebrating Judaism and Jews. In celebrating Simchas Torah we celebrate all the holidays taken together; we celebrate Shabbos, we celebrate mitzvos, we celebrate Jewish values, we celebrate Jewish survival, we celebrate Jewish potential. In short, we celebrate everything we are and everything we can be. Simchas Torah is not an afterthought. In some ways, it is the holiday that gives everything else perspective.
The Lost Torah Scroll
The little kids quickly formed a train, each with his hands on the shoulders of the boy in front of him. They lurched into motion, running madly around the periphery of the shul as throngs of people danced in concentric rings around the bima. Some carried Torah scrolls, adorned in silver crowns and velvet finery. Others carried their small children on their shoulders. As one song ended, another one caught on, and no one wanted to stop.
Observing the action was a girl name Rachel, one of a group of teenage girls who were guests at the home of Rabbi Benzion Klatzko. Dressed in her fashionable best, she watched the frenetic scene with glee; this was an experience unlike any she had encountered thus far in Judaism. To Rachel, the spirit of the night was an injection of life itself, a salve for her ailing soul.
All at once, Rachel’s snapped into sharp focus. Their host, Rabbi Klatzko, stood up on a chair in front of the bima, clutching a miniature Torah scroll in his hands. He had a story to tell, and the men, women and children packed into the shul were eager to hear it. Rachel strained to hear every word of the tale, for she knew that it would speak to her.
“Every week, in my home, I have the privilege of hosting about 30 to 40 people for Shabbos meals. Most of them are college students who are Jewish but have never had the chance to experience a Shabbos. They come from all kinds of backgrounds and all kinds of places across the country, and they join together at my home and get a taste of what Shabbos is about.
“The only thing is, many of them are uncomfortable about going to a traditional shul. They’d rather stay at my house and wait until I come home. The drawback to that is that they never have the chance to see the beauty of a real Shabbos davening. So I decided that the best thing to do would be to buy my own Torah scroll and ark for my living room. That way, I could have the davening at home, and they could take part in it and still feel comfortable. Plus, it would give many of them a chance for an aliyah, some who haven’t had one since their bar mitzvah. And there are those that didn’t even have a bar mitzvah and have never been called up to the Torah in their lives.
“The question was, how would I ever find a kosher Torah scroll at a decent price? And an ark would also be a big investment. So it seemed that, short of a miracle, my idea would be impossible to pull off. However, God doesn’t just perform miracles for you. You have to do your part and hope that He will take care of the rest.
“So I opened up the papers and looked around to see if anyone had a Torah scroll for sale. And believe it or not, someone did. I immediately called the number and on the other end of the phone was an elderly man who said he had a very small Torah scroll that he was selling. It was 11 inches tall.
The Torah scroll had been sitting in his closet unused for 50 years.
“I asked him where he got it, and he told me that his father had been a rabbi of a shul in the Catskills which eventually died out. They auctioned everything off, and the Torah scroll was the only thing they kept. It had been sitting in his closet unused for 50 years, and now he felt it was time to sell that as well.
“Although he wanted quite a bit of money for it and the price was a bit steep for me, I told him that I would like to take a look at it. He agreed to come to my home to show me the Torah.
“A few days later Mr. Foreman came. He showed me a beautiful Torah scroll — over 200 years old but in perfect condition. He asked me why I needed it, and I explained about my Shabbos guests and my idea to enable them to daven at my home, where they would be comfortable.
“He stared at me for a moment seeming very moved by the idea that this Torah would help people come closer to Judaism. All of a sudden, he started crying — I mean really crying with tears streaming down his face. I was trying to get him to talk, but he literally couldn’t get any words out. Finally, he explained. He had drifted away from Judaism and married a Buddhist woman. This Torah scroll was his only connection, and at this point, he felt so cut off that he thought he might as well sell it. But when he found out that this Torah would help reconnect people to Judaism, he wanted to give it to me as a gift. In this way, he felt he would perhaps have the merit to be reconnected too and find his way home at last.
“I didn’t know what to say, but I certainly appreciated his incredible gift. I realized that this was a Torah that had been basically homeless for the past 50 years. There was no one to read it, hold it or keep it properly, and now God gave the Torah a home, and would hopefully bring this lonely Jew back in the near future as well.
“Now, what about an ark? That’s a story of its own. I found an online ad for an old Jewish artifact, a Jewish chest. The sellers weren’t Jewish, but they had bought it from a priest who told them it was of Jewish origin.
On top of the ark was a large cross. I almost fainted.
“When I opened the online pictures of the chest, I saw before me what seemed to be a beautifully crafted ark. It was small, so it wouldn’t be able to hold a regular sized Torah, but would be perfect for the Torah we had. But when I viewed a picture of the top of the ark, I almost fainted. There was a large cross attached to it. All of a sudden, I was not at all sure that this was an item of Jewish origin.
Suddenly I noticed a small plaque at the bottom of it. I asked the sellers to send me a photo of the plaque which appeared to have Hebrew writing on it. They sent me a picture where there was a clear inscription in Hebrew that said “Behold, the guardian of Israel neither sleeps nor slumbers Psalms 121), which proved that the item must be Jewish. The cross upon closer examination, they said, was a separate piece that had been attached. I realized that the priest who bought this ark must have made that addition. I was deeply moved, and was certain that the hand of God was clearly guiding me.
“I bought the ark and had it delivered to my home. The cross was removed and I marveled at the verse that was inscribed. I have never seen this particular verse inscribed on an ark before. And I realized that there was a message here. It was as if God were saying that although this ark was lost for many years, He would never forget about it. He didn’t rest until it finally was brought home to Jewish hands.
“My dear friends, look at what we have here. A Torah that was neglected for so many years was finally given a home in an ark that had been used by a priest. Yet the message was clear that God would never give up on them. He had not forgotten about this lost ark and Torah scroll, and finally the two of them were brought together and can now be used to bring young men and woman back to their Father in Heaven as well.
“This Torah has not been danced with for over 50 years, and now we have the chance to welcome it home. Let’s give it the welcome it deserves.”
As if on cue, the entire shul erupted in singing and dancing. The tiny Torah scroll was in the center of it all, soaking up the overflowing love and honor it had been missing for decades. It was no longer locked away, unused and untouched on this holiday meant for rejoicing. It was where it belonged, in the center of it all
Later that night, Rabbi Klatzko brought the Torah home and secured it inside the ark in his living room. To Rachel, it was not just the sense of tranquility and warmth that Rachel relished. It was the awesome, indescribable feeling of this unique Torah scroll.
The meal ended late, and at last, the contented but exhausted group headed to their rooms for a night’s sleep. Rachel, lay in bed, eyes wide open, with the sound of her heart beating in her ears. She waited a long time, perhaps an hour or more, until she was certain that no one in the house remained awake. She slipped out of bed and tip-toed into the living room. There stood the ark, as if it had been waiting for her.
There, she spoke her heart to God, praying that the sweetness of this home would be hers, in her own life, some day. These were the first prayers her lips had uttered for many years. The bitterness of her own family home – the constant fighting, the blame and anger, the storm clouds that threatened to blow through the front door at any moment – had acted like a razor-sharp wire-cutter, severing her connection to God. Here at the Klatzko’s home, she could feel the connection being mended; the power was sputtering back into her being, and once again beginning to flow.
Recalling the Torah scroll’s exile, she thought of herself. “My dear, holy Torah scroll, you know what it’s like to be neglected. You know how it feels to live with people who don’t see the beauty in you and don’t understand what you are worth. I’ve lived that way my whole life, but you’ve lived like that so much longer. Fifty whole years you stood there and no one kissed you or carried you or looked inside you to see what was there. But you’ve given me hope, because even after 50 years, look what happened! Look what a night you just had! Everyone hugged you and kissed you. Everyone wanted to dance with you. You were the star of the show. The Almighty doesn’t sleep. He keeps watch over His people, and He’s keeping watch over me.
“Please, God, I’m begging you, may I be like this Torah scroll. I know there is still holiness in me. Please let me hold onto it, just like this Torah did. And when the time is right, bring me a husband who will honor me and love me the way a wife should be honored. Let me have a home that’s happy, and holy, and full of children and guests and kindness, just like this home. Please, God, find me, too, and bring me home.”
Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Shemini Atzeres-Simchas Torah-Vizos HaBracha-Bereishis 5772
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