Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Simchas Torah Challenges – "Getting Into" the Dancing
With some encouragement from A Simple Jew, I wanted to put an issue I’m grappling with out there on the table. To state it plainly, I currently find it difficult to ever “get into” the dancing in almost any venue. Aside from two specific events per year, I generally struggle with a feeling of coldness and apathy when it comes to various situations that relate to rikudim. Whether it’s a Chasuna, or dancing on simchas Torah, I generally have a general lack of enthusiasm. When it comes to weddings, unless I am very close to a Chossan, I face this problem.
On the first night of Shmini Atzeres, I went out of my way to daven at a Shul where they do not do Chassidishe hakafos on the first night of Shmini Atzeres. That way, I would only “have” to dance on Simchas Torah its self. When my children were there, I certainly made a great effort to have some great dancing during that time, and the rest of the time, I participated as well, but not with a lot of feeling.
Something that I found very helpful was the fact that the rabbi of my Shul gave us a nice pep talk before the dancing the at night with two sets of kavanos regarding what the avoda of the dancing is about and what it accomplishes. You can read that advice HERE. It was a huge chizuk to know what to think about and I was thankful to have a rabbi who'll lead us along what we need to be doing and thinking about during a mitzva. Although even knowing what great things are hanging in the balance during the dancing, I still had that coldness that is so difficult to shake off during the dancing.
When it comes to intellectual things, even emotionally connected things, like Torah, Chassidus, Gemara, etc. I have no problem getting into it most of the time. The problem arises when I try to connect my intellectual knowledge with my emotions. That’s a great challenge for me and it is something I’m working on in general with the derech avoda of the Bilvavi seforim. It all comes back to one of the messages in my current favorite pasuk from Devarim 4:39, “וְיָדַעְתָּ הַיּוֹם, וַהֲשֵׁבֹתָ אֶל-לְבָבֶךָ, כִּי יְהוָה הוּא הָאֱלֹהִים, בַּשָּׁמַיִם מִמַּעַל וְעַל-הָאָרֶץ מִתָּחַת: אֵין, עוֹד..” It’s the old difficulty of connecting the וְיָדַעְתָּ הַיּוֹם to the וַהֲשֵׁבֹתָ אֶל-לְבָבֶךָ.
Anyone else facing this? How have you handled it or how would you like to handle it?
(Video is a great one of the Melitzer Rebbe having no problems "getting into" the dancing with his then-new son in law, at a Sheva Brachos in Ashdod.)