Friday, October 21, 2011


The Yetzer on Simchas Torah

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

How does the Yetzer Hara, the evil inclination, approach a chossid or righteous individual or Torah scholar on Simchas Torah???

On Simchas Torah every Jew is equal.  At other times it makes a difference whether someone has a bigger head (more capability to learn) or better focus (more capability to pray with concentration), or even more money (to afford better quality materials for mitzvot and to give more tzedaka (charity)).

But on Simchas Torah the mitzvah is to rejoice with the Torah.  We can do this by dancing with the Torah, singing with the Torah, joining together with the whole community to rejoice with the Torah.  (Almost) every Jew has feet and can dance with the Torah.  (Almost) every Jew has a voice and can sing with the Torah.  And every Jew can rejoice with the Torah with some capability!

That’s the avodah of Simchas Torah, and it’s equally within the reach of every Jew, no special learning or capabilities required.

…on Simchas Torah during HaKafos (circling/dancing with the Torahs) I passed a chossid in our shul (synagogue) who was sitting and learning a ma’amar of the Rebbe while we were dancing with the Torahs.  A wonderful thing for a chossid to do…but on Simchas Torah doing it during HaKafos is a trick of the Yezter Hara!  (A mitzvah at the wrong time that takes away from the avodah – the proper task of a particular time, is an aveyra [a sin].)

..during a brief break from HaKafos to grab some more drinks from the kitchen, I found a bocher (a young unmarried man) sitting back there saying tehillim (psalms).  A wonderful thing for a bocher to do…but on Simchas Torah during HaKafos?  Again, the Yezter at his best turning a good thing into a bad one.

I may not know if my Torah learning is good or enough, or if my davening (praying) is appropriate or with concentration.  But I know I can rejoice and dance with the Torah in great joy at Hashem and His gift of the Torah to us.

That’s the avodah (Divine Service) of Simchas Torah.


  1. With all due respect, Simchat Torah is a very difficult day for many traditional Jewish women. There are a handful of Orthodox synagogues where women dance with a Sefer Torah (the main avodah of the day), but for the most part, in my experience, the great majority of women either sit in shul and schmooze behind a mechitza, watch passively as the men and boys dance or stay home and avoid the whole thing. I'm not asking you to take on the issue in any substantive way. Just asking that you be more careful in your language because "every Jew" is not equal on Simchat Torah.

  2. Bat Aliyah:

    Why is your named linked to a Christian site?

  3. No idea how that happened! My site is:


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