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The Deeper the Love, the Greater the Joy

Friday, 5 October, 2012 - 10:29 am

They say that men are like parking spaces at the mall; the good ones are taken and the ones that are available, nobody wants.

A good relationship between husband and wife could be divided into three categories. The first is when the wife asks for something, he does it happily. The second is that she merely has to hint to him and he already gets it. The third is when he anticipates what she wants without her having to even hint to him. Often, the deeper the love is between them, the greater his ability is to anticipate what she wants.

The holiday that we are celebrating has all three of these elements within the joy and celebration of our relationship with G-d. The first level is the joy of the festival – where the Torah explicitly tells us “and you shall rejoice.” The second level is the joy of Simchat Beit Hashoavah (the joy associated with the water libations in Temple times). The Torah merely alludes to this celebration by adding the three Hebrew letters that make up the word Mayim – water - into the passages dealing with the Sukkot offerings.

The third level is the joy of Simchat Torah. As my buddy LJ Goldstein put it, “there is no verse that says ‘Thou shalt be happy on Simchat Torah.’” Simchat Torah is not even hinted to in any verse of the Torah. It is a custom instituted by the prophets. Yet in our liturgy we say that all of our greats from Abraham to Moses to Elijah celebrated Simchat Torah. This is because their relationship to Hashem was so deep that they anticipated without being told. Therefore Simchat Torah is the most joyous celebration of the year.

I may have mentioned that it is also my favorite holiday as well. At Chabad Simchat Torah is really taken to the next level. I encourage you to come to Chabad Uptown or Metairie and join in this awesome joyous celebration on Monday night and Tuesday morning. In addition to all the dancing there are two things I want to highlight. On Monday night after Hakafot we encourage all of the men and boys turn a summersault during the singing of Aleinu. On Tuesday during the Torah reading all little boys under Bar Mitzvah will be called to the Torah for a special Aliyah called “kul ha’ne’arim.”


I look forward to celebrating with you.

Happy Sukkot and Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

Comments on: The Deeper the Love, the Greater the Joy

Elly Egenberg wrote...

I also make the connection between our love and devotion to Hashem and my love and devotion to my spouse. However I do not expect nor require my husband to be a mind reader, or the euphemism the article sited, "anticipating my needs." Hashem too explicitly tells us via the Torah how to please Him.

Rabbi Mendel Rivkin wrote...

The three models described are not mutually exclusive - all three can exist in one relationship. The idea is that on occasion a level so deep can be reached that one spouse senses what the other wants without needing to be told. It cannot be required or expected but when it happens it is deeply appreciated. And this is what a Minhag is all about in our relationship with Hashem.