“And you shall draw water with joy from the wellspring of salvation.” (Isaiah 12:3)
Tonight is the beginning of Shemini Atzeret, also known as Simchat Torah. It’s the end of the period of holidays that started with Rosh Hashannah 3 weeks ago, followed by Yom Kippur and Sukkot. The word ‘atzeret’ in Hebrew refers to a ‘gathering together.’ On this holiday we gather together all the spiritual strength we’ve gathered in the last weeks and let it explode in a frenzy of joy and celebration.
On Simchat Torah we dance and celebrate with the Torah. The rabbis say that ‘water’ represents Torah. It’s the necessary stuff of life. And because we Jews love Torah, and because we love life, we bring them together on this holiday and bask in the presence of G-d’s goodness and kindness to us.
Chag sameach! (Happy holiday!)