The grand finale of the Torah is Parshat Zos HaBracha, which we read every year on the holiday of Simchat Torah. Zos HaBracha, which means ‘this is the blessing’, relays the blessings the Moshe gave to each tribe immediately before his death.
While Moshe’s blessings seem to focus on their material matters, like “triumph” for Yehudah, “dew” and “crops” for Yosef, “the riches of the sea” for Zevulun, etc., our commentaries explain that there is a deeper meaning to each one which relates to the spiritual portion of each one.
Just as Yaakov, before his death, looked at his twelve sons and realized that each one of them has a very unique contribution that is a crucial piece to the puzzle that is the Jewish people, so too Moshe on his death bed reiterated that every tribe had its unique mission and style that is necessary to make the Jewish people function as a complete unit.
One can compare the twelve tribes to the twelve edges of any three dimensional physical object. When you bring all twelve edges together, it creates a new vessel with height, width and depth. For the Jewish people that vessel contains in it the holiness of the Shechina, Hashem’s dwelling in this world. This idea is represented as well in the twelve months of the year.
This idea also represents itself in the fact that Parshat Zos HaBracha is the 53rd Torah portion. The number 53 is the numerical value of the word Gan, which means garden. The Torah begins with the sad story of Adam and Eve being kicked out of the Garden of Eden which was a place where the Almighty’s presence was felt with complete clarity. The world is sent into turmoil and becomes a place of sin and destruction until Avraham and Sarah come along and build a dynasty that would restore the glory of Hashem in the world. Hence the dwelling of Hashem that was once in the Garden of Eden is restored through the children of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, the twelve tribes.
This vessel for the Divine dwelling is represented in the circles that we dance in on Simchat Torah. The completion of the cycle of leaving the Garden and then “returning” is represented in the circle that leaves its original point only to find its way back there. And in a circle, every person is equidistant from the center despite each one having their own viewpoint, just like the twelve tribes who each have differing spiritual missions but is necessary to complete the circle.
Simchat Torah is not just a day to celebrate the fact that we read 53 Torah portions. It is a day where we celebrate our own personal accomplishments in Torah and in Mitzvot. Have we joined the circle at some point over the last twelve months? Did we take on a new Mitzvah or learn something new? Did some part of Torah connect with us in a very deep way? Did we improve in any areas of our life because of a Torah teaching or new Mitzvah we embraced?
If so, we have so much to dance about on Simchat Torah. And even if we haven’t yet found our place in the Torah, let’s rejoice in the fact that there is a new year ahead and- just maybe- this year will bring us new clarity. But most importantly, let’s dance because we are a part of a special family where every single person matters and needed to complete the whole. Because, dear friend, without YOU on the dance floor, our circle is not complete!
So this Simchat Torah, just dance like nobody’s watching!
Chag Sameach and Mazel tov on completing another year!