A Journey of the Heart
The festival of Simchat Torah (the “Joy of Torah”), which falls on this Thursday evening and Friday, urges us to celebrate the wisdom we have gathered, to notice all we have learned this past year and to raise it up with song and dance.
In celebration, we open the Torah scroll and read from the last few verses in Deuteronomy and then from the opening lines in Genesis. We never read the end of the Torah without also reading from the beginning. The very last letter of the Torah is a lamed. The first letter is a beit. Put together, these letters spells lev—heart—reminding us that the journey of Torah is a journey of the heart.
On this day, we also celebrate Shemini Atzeret—the eighth day of gathering, the final day of the holiday season. On this day, the Holy One says to us, “We having been through so much together. Stay one more day with me. There is nothing you need to do or be—let’s stay together one more day.”
May our hearts open to joy and may we feel the Mystery holding us in love.
— Rabbi Yael Levy