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September 24, 2021
18 Tishrei 5781
Sukkot V (CH"M)
(Torah) Exodus 33:12 - 34:26
Numbers 29:17-34
(Haftorah) Ezekiel 38:18 - 39:16


I love dancing with the Torah. I love unfurling the scroll and seeing our story right there for us to grapple with and explore. I miss the opportunity to do that. Many of my colleagues are meeting in person this year, but even for them it will not be the same as it was in other years.

But if I am being truly honest, it is never the same year after year. Each year brings its own joys, sorrows and revelations. There were years of dancing in the street with children on parents’ shoulders, years of seeing my mother waltz with the Torah, and years of seeing my rabbi with an expression of pure joy as he led the congregation with his Torah, bringing home his teaching that we each have our own Torah to wrestle with and make our own.

It took me a while to learn how to dance with the Torah. I do not mean the steps; I mean the kavanah, the intention. How to allow the letters, each letter to enter into my heart and connect me to the generations that came before. How to be in many places at the same time, how to transcend time and space and just let go and be. It didn’t happen every year, it is a process.

Finding the joy in the center of the chaos that is life is the task of Simchat Torah. We have an opportunity not only to end but to begin again. Starting over, hearing the story of creation is a place of hope, of possibility and that is the joy of Simchat Torah.  A reminder like no other, that each day creation begins anew.

I end with a poem that came my way with a strong wish that we all are able to dance and sing with the Torah by next Simchat Torah.


Simchat Torah

We dance by ourselves.
We dance in our living rooms with Sefaria on our phones
We dance in the falling rain.
We dance cradling toddlers, or dogs, or emptiness.
We dance in solitary circles.
We dance Misirlou with the generations, hand in invisible hand.

We dance dreaming with our eyes wide open.
We dance to our favorite melodies on You Tube, iTunes and Spotify.
We dance breathlessly.
We dance to stay healthy.
We dance humming Hebrew letters.
We dance with hands stretched to the screen.

We dance even if our bodies can’t or won’t.
We dance in our seats.
We dance with our eyes.
We dance leaning on friends.
We dance with our memories of dancing.
We watch with pleasure as others dance.

We dance not feeling like it.
We dance ourselves into feeling like it.
We dance pulled into the swirling circle of momentum.
We dance pulled into the spiral circle of history.

We dance our history.
We dance our tomorrow.
We dance our now.

Trish Arlin
Rachel Barenblatt
David Evan Marcus
Sonja Keren Pilz


Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Linda Shriner-Cahn


Sun, June 26 2022 27 Sivan 5782