Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Simchas Torah

Simchas Torah has always been the holiday where I take time to reflect on how lucky I am to have Channah. It is supposed to be the absolute celebration of the culmination of the entire Elul/Tishrei process of moving closer to Hashem.

After Mincha the shul started their auction. As they are in a brand new building and 300,000 NIS in debt it was the first time they had an auction. Marriv went for 300 NIS. I don't know what happened after that as I went home to pick up Channah for hakafos.

People had tons of energy has they did not have the Yom Tov fatigue from waiting through chag before starting Yom Tov. Rabbi Myers gives out tea biscuits to the kids the way Rabbi Felder used to give out lollipops. He also went over to Channah numerous times throughout the evening to ask her how she was doing. I had a few moments of reflection thinking of the similarites and differences from what I was used to at Shomrai Shabbos. I have left a lot behind but what I have now is incredible.

The shul only has 2 Sifrei Torah. Each Hakafah had a theme. The first one was for the kohanim and they sang the kohen gadol song before starting. The fourth hakafah was for Olim Chadashim. As there were three of us, I lead while the other two held the sefer Torah. They sang Shavu Banim. They did a weird thing where they spun around the person as they were leading the hakahfah. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to spin or if I was doing something wrong and going in the wrong direction.

The level of energy was incredible. Everyone singing together was really beautiful. I was impressed with the amount of tunes that where connected to the tunes used during the Yom Nareim. The end of a hakfah would be announced, one more song would be sung and they moved onto the next one. Matsah Chen was the only song in English. It did not last long. A song about taking a 3 day holiday to Israel just doesn't have the same effect when you live here.

The pekalech were of a very reasonable size. There were no flags which was a change I was not prepared for. Part of the mechitzah was pulled back for the women to watch the dancing. Channah spent half of the time dancing. She also spent times with her friends, reading books in the women's section or simply standing outside the building.

We were home for dinner with our guests by 8:00. Dinner was really good.

In the morning I slept in until 9:00. I quickly davened Shacaris at home and got Channah ready for shul. We got there in time to catch some of the auction before hakafos. One person wanted to have a group donation of 5000 NIS towards wine for kiddush and havdalah with his own contribution of 1000 NIS. Rabbi Myers explained why there was no kiddush Friday night and the complications around havdallah. They raised the money and they had havdallah in shul tonight. They took contributions for 1000 NIS each to cover a month of electricity. Before kiddush a bottle of Blue Label was also sold. The opening bid was 700 NIS. I have no idea what the final price was.

Hakafos were a little more low key. There was more of a spirit of keeping things moving then the night before. A hassid who is supposed to be a world famous chazzan stopped by our minyan and lead a couple of songs. There was a Motzen style rendition of shechianu including a going incredibly fast. He also brought someone with him who plays the air shofar. Channah spent less time with me then last night. It was great having her enjoy the day with me.

Mussaf finished at 2:00. I stayed for the first Mincha before coming home for lunch. Lunch was low key and quick before taking naps until the end of Yom Tov. Simcha Yom Tov was incredible. It will be nice to get back into routine.

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