Photo Credit: Jewish Press

We are now preparing for Simchas Torah, the day of rejoicing over the Torah. The festival of Sukkos is called “Zman Simchaseinu,” which means “the time of our rejoicing” – the rejoicing of the Jewish people. Indeed, we sit in the Sukkah and we rejoice with each other, with family and friends. Jews rejoice with one another.

There is, however, a deeper, esoteric explanation of the phrase “Zman Simchaseinu,” our rejoicing – the joy of Almighty G-d with the Jewish people. On Sukkos, we are not only rejoicing with each other; we also rejoice together with G-d.

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The zenith of “Zman Simchaseinu” is Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah, when we go to hakofos. What is the meaning of the term “hakofos”? The simple meaning is “circles,” that we dance in a circle around the Bimah with a Sefer Torah. The Rebbe explains that the word hakofos also has a deeper meaning in this context. The term hakofoh also refers to credit – when someone buys something and pays later.

On Simchas Torah, Almighty G-d gives us credit for the new year. It sometimes happens that a person’s credit-worthiness is unfortunately not that good, and he doesn’t pay his bills on time. If a person neglects his bills, the result is that, eventually, the bank, the telephone company, or Con Edison are going to do what we don’t want them to do: they will cease giving service.

Nevertheless, if a person sees that he cannot pay his bill, he can call the bank and say, “I am here and I’m not running away from you. I plan to pay, but it’s difficult times now – whether it’s Covid-19 or something else – so I ask you to please understand my situation and let me pay it out little by little.” Generally, they will be accommodating and give you a payment plan in installments. These payments are called hakofos, credit.

We sometimes approach Almighty G-d and we say: “Ribono Shel Olom, our credit has not been the best, and we weren’t the best in many ways. But we want to tell you that from now on, with Your help, we are going to try to improve our ways, and little by little, we are going to come back to You. We’re only human, and we can’t do it in a superhuman way, because we’re limited human beings. We have to do it in our own limited way, but we are going to do it.”

Almighty G-d, being our Merciful Father – more than a banker – accepts our plea and He gives us hakofos, the credit for the new year. He gives us life and sustenance and happiness and nachas. With G-d’s help, during the year, we make sure that we meet our obligations.

The Rebbe also explains that Simchas Torah means “the joy of the Torah.” The Torah wants to dance hakofos, but how can it dance? You need legs in order to dance, and the Torah doesn’t have legs! What happens on Simchas Torah is that there’s a fusion between the Jew and the Torah. The Jew takes the Torah in his hands and he becomes the legs of the Torah, which is a wonderful fusion.

Nevertheless, we must remember that when we become united with the Torah, the Torah is the head and we are the legs. The legs have to do what the head wants them to do, and we have to do what Torah asks of us. With that, we get – with G-d’s help – all the brochos, all the blessings that come from the Torah, Y’vorechechoh Hashem V’yishmerechoh, and all the blessings that come from the Torah that we read in the Torah, for a good year for a sweet year for nachas in everything:

In “bonei” – children, and the extension of children: nachas from children, shidduchim of children, children from children; in “chayei” – life, and the extension of life: good health and “mezonei revichei” – abundant sustenance (everyone understands what that means), abundant livelihood in a very broad fashion. The Rebbe would always add “Uvekulam Revichei,” that all areas should be in a very broad fashion. Almighty G-d knows what “revichei” is for each and every single one of us.

And let’s not forget when we asked about all the good things, and our petition is going to be granted, we should also ask for the Geulah Ha’amitis Vehashleimah – the great redemption. We’ve been in golus long enough, and we should see with our very own eyes the great redemption, Teikef Umiyad Mamosh, imminently.

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Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman is director of the Lubavitch Youth Organization. He can be reached at Lubavitchyouth@gmail.com.