Friday, October 2, 2009

Hoshanos and Hakafos

On every day of Succos (except Shabbos) we say Hoshanos. At that time, the men hold their Lulavim and Esrogim and dance around the Bimah. One man stands at the Bimah holding a Sefer Torah, with all eyes not looking into the machzor (prayer book for holidays) on him.

It struck me that Hoshanos is a mashal for life. In seminary, we had a class called מעגל השנה, or in English, the circle of the year. We learned about each Jewish month and Yom Tov (holiday) as it came. The teacher stressed that the year, time, is a circle. And like a circle, though a year has a beginning and an end, the two are so connected as to practically be one. From Rosh Hashana to Elul, we come "full circle" every year.

The dancing around the bimah is like going through the year. We take steps, passing through every month. But our focus is always on what we are dancing around – the Torah. The Torah is our life. Everything that we do is (or at least should be) with our eyes looking to the Torah and our Rabbanim (spiritual leaders) for guidance.

This concept is even more striking on Simchas Torah. During the Hakafos (circuit), the dancing is exuberant. "We dance 'round and 'round in circles" (Journeys 4, The Man from Vilna) integrating the Torah into the circle of our lives. The joy that living a Torah life brings to people is written on the faces of the men as they dance and sing around and with the holy Torah.

כי הם חיינו וארך ימינו
Because they are our lives and the measure of our days.

1 comment:

itsagift said...

Nice one. Hope you have a beautiful rest of yom tov!!

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