The Circle Dance
Matthew from Silver Spring, Maryland wrote:
I really enjoyed dancing with the Torah on Simchat Torah, and it made me wonder: Why do we have the custom of dancing round and round in a circle on Simchat Torah? Why not a "square dance" for a change? I hope you like my question and sense of humor and thanks in advance for your reply.
The mystics teach us that
One of Judaism's great gifts to mankind is the verse in the Torah, "And you will love your neighbor as yourself."(Leviticus19:18) When we love each other and we are genuinely happy for our friends' successes, this causes a greater perception of
On Simchat Torah we complete the annual reading of the Torah. As soon as we finish the last verse, we start again at the beginning. Without a break. We read the Torah in a continuous cycle because the circle is a symbol of eternity. It goes on forever. It is eternal, just as the One who gave us the Torah is Eternal.
The circle symbolizes eternity. It starts nowhere and it finishes nowhere. The circle is also a symbol of equality. Every point in the circle is equidistant from its center.
There is an ancient Jewish custom to dance for hours around the bima (lectern) on Simchat Torah, the festival on which we celebrate the completion of the yearly Torah cycle. This circle of dancing symbolizes the eternity of the Torah and its Divine Author.
The mystics tell us that in the next world the righteous will make a circle around
- Sources: Rabbi Zev Leff and others