The Simchat Torah Window
In this window, the narrative of the people of Israel is wrapped dramatically within the Scroll of Torah, from its beginning (“Bereshit”) to its conclusion (“B’nei Yisrael”). The death of Moses, who has led the people on their desert journey, is reconciled by a glimpse of the Promised Land across the River Jordan. Moses’ life-work has reached its climax, yet it will be left to others to complete the final stage of the journey from exile to redemption. We are reminded of this at Simchat Torah, when one cycle of reading the Torah is completed and a new cycle is immediately begun.
The yad, or “hand” which is used to follow the reading from the Torah, points in two directions: to the past across a tallit (prayer shawl), which represents the crossing of the sea from Egypt into the wilderness; and to the future, the vision of Jerusalem rebuilt, the messianic dream. The scroll of the Torah winds backwards and forwards, spiralling through time.
Our relationship to Torah on Simchat Torah is captured through the movements of dance – we seek to reach out and touch the words of Torah, holding them close to ourselves and so wrapping ourselves within the panoramic experience of the Jewish people.