Monday, October 01, 2007

Really Rejoicing with the Torah

My son, a newly-minted nursery school student, came home today with his very own flag for waving on Simchat Torah. We won't talk here about the sharp stick and how my very vigorous almost 3 year old will likely stab himself with it before yom tov...we'll stick to the joy.

He is obsessed with the Torah. Look at the bells, Ima. I can see it, Ima. Why is it wearing white (last week)? Can I kiss it? Where is my stuffed Torah? Look at it there in the closet, there are eight of them! Can I go up there on the bo-bima (not sure why he calls it that!) and see them?On Rosh HaShanah, an inexpert Torah carrier bopped my son in the nose with the Torah when he leaned in for a kiss. Not even a whimper, he was just so excited to be near the Torah.

The spectacle that is the Torah service on a regular Shabbat is so enticing for kids. The beautifully dressed Torah is brought out from its hiding place, and paraded around with singing to every person in shul, even the toddlers. Its clothes are soft and its decorations shiny. And you even get to shake hands with the rabbi and cantor as the parade around.

Simchat Torah seems like such an opportunity. Here is a day devoted to Torah. Everyone gets an aliyah, even "hana'arim," all of the youngsters. There is something so profound about this inclusion: that the joy of the Torah and the words within is not lost on small children.

This year, Simchat Torah services will keep my toddler up late at night. And I will be fine with it. Because this once a year celebration will keep him talking for hours on end, and will keep his enthusiasm going at Shabbat services for the next few months. My enthusiasm will match his, because seeing all of this through his eyes is unbelievably exciting. I hope that you'll be able to find this excitement yourselves, regardless of how much cooking, the crazy workload and the rest of everything that life throws our way!

Chag sameach!

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