Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Simhat Torah - A Time to Dance

I must admit that I'm not big on dancing in synagogue.  Singing joyously at the top of my lungs, sure.  (When we were in high school, my sister was always embarrassed sitting next to me at our synagogue in Pittsfield, Massachusetts because she thought that I always sang too loud.)  But dancing has never really struck me as being a form of prayer, and I would just as soon celebrate in other ways.

At Temple Israel, we have incorporated dancing into our monthly Neranena! service on one Friday night per month (the next one is Oct. 28), when we let down our musical hair and break into "spontaneous" dance at the end of Lekha Dodi.  But Simhat Torah is an entirely different story - this is a time of mandated partying, of the joyous revelry that comes with the annual completion and re-commencement of the reading of the Torah.  This is the only holiday that actually includes the word simhah (happiness) in its name.  We have no choice but to move, to get up and dance and celebrate.

So I hold on to my tallit and waltz into the fray.  If you're standing on the side on Thursday evening or Friday morning, Rabbi Stecker or I just might try to coax you out into the circle as well.  You have been warned.

It's time to dance!  Hag sameah!

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