“Shimini Atzeret,” Hebrew for “8th of the festival,” is also called (outside the land of Israel where the holiday is celebrated not one but two days) “Simchat Torah,” Hebrew for “Happiness of Torah.” Now our Sages explain that this holiday is uniquely celebrated not by study (the learning of Torah), but by dancing! In particular, we dance in circles around the bimah (wooden table upon which the Torah is placed when read), lifting our feet and voices in joyous celebration deep into the night. It is well known that even unto his advanced age, the Rebbe (Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson of Blessed Memory) would dance, without cessation, until the early morning hours! The Chassidic masters explain that the joy we cultivate (in ourselves and others) on Simchat Torah infuses the entire year - all the months ahead - with the deepest sense of happiness. And why is this elevated state of consciousness achieved, specifically, by dancing? Explains Chassidut, because what the mind can’t grasp and the mouth can’t articulate, the feet (their movement) can express! Simply put, dance enables us to tap into a Godly joy that can’t be limited, not by space and not by time. So dance, my brothers and sisters, late into the night. May the pounding of your feet express the Godly joy your limited faculties (mind and heart) can’t!
A healthy and most happy Simchat Torah to all!