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Dvar for Simchat Torah 5764

Among the subtleties of the Holidays upon us is the fact that Succot is the only Holiday that isn't celebrated for a particular event that happened. Succot is simply a collection of happiness to be celebrated at the same time, and all at this time of year. As Torah Tidbits explains:

- Pesach is a celebration of our freedom, which is a happy event, but it also marks our having been slaves for many years prior, and reminds us that we're still enslaved in our world today. If we took the happiness of those 7 days, removed the bitterness, we'd have Succot.

- Rosh Hashana, which represents a new start, and clean slate for us all. Although this is a very happy time, it's also weighed with the possibility that we'll be judged unfavorably. If we had just the happiness, without the uncertainty of judgment, we'd have Hoshana Raba, which is the final Holiday, and the one that's in fact the final deadline to do Teshuva repent).

- Shavuot (whose timing is also known as Atzeret), which marks the joy of receiving the Torah, but also marks our having a mountain placed over us threateningly, knowing that if we didn't accept the Torah, the world would have no purpose, and would therefore be destroyed. (In fact, the Jews only accepted the Torah out of pure love many years later, on Purim). If we took the happiness of that day, without the doom factor, we'd have Shmini Atzeret/Simchat Torah (Happiness of Torah).

The common thread of all these Holidays grouped together should send us a very strong message: Be happy! But how can we accomplish that? The Rambam Maimonides) says that there's NO greater happiness then through giving, and Rabbi Zweig explains that it's because you're imitating the qualities of G-d. More then just being in G-d presence (which we just experienced on Yom Kippur), the theme of all Jewish Holidays, and ESPECIALLY these, is to look for ways to give others, whether it's through money, encouragement, food, or even just a smile! Let's all find a way, to make someone's day!!

Quotation of the Day (thanks to Tzivi):
"Of all the words of tongue or pen, the saddest are...'what might have been'."

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Last Updated: Monday, October 03, 2005