("Let's table the discussion" is a new Adath Israel Shul initiative where a story or thought is presented in order to stimulate exciting and constructive discussion around our Shabbos table or among friends and children.)
(Hat tip – Rabbi Yaakov Glasser)
“I bet I can tell who is going to tire out first…” Chaim told Simcha.
The two boys were watching two men dance excitedly on Simchas Torah. The rest of the crowd had slowed to watch these two men. For a full hour, the men danced feverishly – keeping pace with one another and keeping the lively singing alive. The crowd of onlookers began to tire with their watching but the two men just didn’t seem to be calming down. In fact, the more the crowd seemed to slow down, the more they worked to re-energize the crowd with their moves and antics on the Hakafos floor.
It was at that point that Chaim told Simcha that he was sure he knew who would tire out first.
“Oh yeah?” came Simcha’s retort, “Take a guess.”
Chaim pointed to one of the men and sure enough, 20 minutes later it was that very man who stopped dancing and effectively ended the “contest.”
Simcha was amazed. “How did you know?” he wondered.
Rav Yitzchak Hutner (Pachad Yitzchak, Sukkos 57) tells a similar story about the Chuddushei HaRim who saw two of his Chassidim dancing and noted which would stop dancing first. When asked how he knew, the Rebbe answered that it was obvious to him. The first fellow was a Talmid Chacham who was dancing in celebration of the Torah he had studied and the feats he had already accomplished in Torah mastery. The second was dancing in celebration of the future Torah he was going to learn. “The first fellow’s accomplishments were finite,” explained the Chiddushei HaRim. “Therefore I knew he would eventually tire. The second fellow dances because of endless possibilities. He certainly was going to outlast the finite dancing of the first fellow.”
There is often a discussion about what the true celebration of Simchas Torah is all about. Some identify the day with the completion of the Torah. However, others understand that Simchas Torah is a celebration not of a job done, but one which is just beginning. Each time we begin a new cycle of the Torah, our possibilities for understanding, inculcating, and appreciating the Torah are renewed and boundless. If we undertake that mission with Simcha – joy, we can hold onto that joy throughout the journey that is Torah life.
What type of Simchas Torah will YOU celebrate?
How will your Simchas Torah THIS year be different than last year’s? Than NEXT year’s?
Let’s “table” the discussion – by discussing it with our children, spouses, families and guests and open an exciting discussion into our homes and communities.