Sunday, October 23, 2016

A Joy Above This World


On Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah our job is to find a joy in Hashem and in His Torah that is above nature and above the world as we know it. On these special days we will experience a joy that is higher than our everyday ups and downs and higher than our usual worries and struggles. 

In order to experience the ultimate joy that is above this world, we must "meet" Hashem and dance with Him in our hearts. How do we meet Him? 

"Atzeres" means "meeting". As holidays go, Shemini Atzeres is on a much higher level than Sukkos. On Shemini Ateres we have "one more" special day with Hashem, after the 7-days of Sukkos that is just for His nation alone. Sukkos is not a holiday just for the Jewish people. We brought sacrifices in the Holy Temple for all of the nations during the seven days of Sukkos. But now, on the 8th day of Shemini Atzeres ("8" being higher than nature; the 7-days of the week; the 7 personality characteristic that we must refine) we connect very intimately with Hashem all by ourselves. The joy of Shemini Atzeres is therefore the joy of connecting to Hashem.

Simchas Torah brings with it another type of supernatural joy and that is the joy of connecting with Hashem's Torah itself. 

In Israel we celebrate both holidays in one day. The result of absorbing the joy that will surround us: the joy of connecting to Hashem and the joy of connecting to his Torah, will become so deeply apart of us, that we will be truely happy with ourselves just like WE ARE! - until next year, of course, when we will aspire to reach even more. 

Have a wonderful holiday!
Dr. Zev