Gates Shemini Atzeres/ Simchas
Torah October 9, 2009
to Beyond Twelve Gates. An Oriental fable introduces us to a
like all mice, was afraid
of cats. A local wizard offered his help, and turned the mouse
into a cat.
The cat, however, was
afraid of dogs. So the wizard did his thing and turned the cat into a dog.
Afraid of tigers, the dog
was soon turned into a tiger. The wizard discovered the tiger was afraid
of big game hunters and
exclaimed in disgust, "You're hopeless! What you need is a change
of heart. And that I
cannot give you."
The holidays of Sukkos, Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah are times of
great happiness; however,
happiness isn't a possession we search for. Rather, it's a
blessing present in
everything we experience. 'Things' can't make us happy. Counting
blessings we do have is the
key to true happiness.
Torah Reading for
Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah
Atzeres is the two-day holiday immediately following the seventh day
of Sukkos. It begins on
Shabbos. Simchas Torah is celebrated on Sunday, the second
day of Shemini Atzeres. The
Torah reading for the first day is Deuteronomy 14:22 -- 16:17.
Shemini Atzeres is a holiday in its own right. 'Shemini Atzeres'
literally means 'Stop (on)
Day'. Benjamin Franklin once said, 'fish and visitors smell
in three days'. The Almighty,
however, has a different perspective!
G-d, who has had us as 'visitors' for the seven days of
Sukkos, asks us to stay
with Him for an eighth day. Seeing our loved ones leave is
so too, G-d loves His
children and desires that we spend one more day with Him in festive
Torah means "Rejoicing in the Torah."
This holiday marks the completion of the
annual cycle of the
weekly Torah Readings. On it we read the last Torah portion, V'zos
-- 34: 12 ). We then proceed immediately to the first
chapter of Genesis,
reminding us that the Torah
is a circle which never ends. The completion of the Torah readings
is a time of great
celebration. There are processions around the synagogue carrying Torah
with plenty of
high-spirited singing and dancing.
This past week Israeli scientist Ada Yonath won the 2009Nobel Prixe in
Dr. Yonath, 70, is the
fourth woman to to win the Nobel chemistry prize and the first since 1964.
The global Islamic population is approximately one and a half billion, or 20%
of the world
population. As of 2008, 8 Muslims (including
Yassar Arafat) were awarded a Nobel Prize.
population is approximately 14 million, or .02% of the
world population. As of
2008, 180 Jews were awarded
a Nobel Prize. Anti-Semites have accused us of many
during the past 4,000
years. One thing our enemies have never said about us is that we're not
Quote of the Week
Hatred is the coward's
revenge for being intimidated -- George Bernard Shaw
Joke of the Week
Earlier this week I had a near death experience. It all started
when I went horseback riding.
Everything was going fine,
but then the horse started bouncing out of control. My cries
of "Whoa!" and
pulling back on the reins went unheeded. I tried with all my might to hang
but was thrown off. Just
when things couldn't possibly get worse, my foot got caught in the
stirrup causing me to fall
head first to the ground. Unable to free myself, my head continued
to bounce harder, as the
horse didn't stop or even slow down.
Just as I was giving up hope and losing consciousness .... the
Walmart manager came
and unplugged it
Hope I didn't worry you --
I was just horsing around.