Friday, October 29, 2010

Shabbos Royalty

Over the past few months, I've been listening to a series of shiurim (lectures) given by Rav Moshe Weinberger on the topic of Shabbos Kodesh, specifically the erev Shabbos preparations and the significance of the candle lighting. I highly recommend the series; I listened to a shiur every Friday as I went about with my own preparations for Shabbos Kodesh, and I found that the series deepened my appreciation for Shabbos, how inextricably intertwined it is with Creation, and gave me a glimpse at the sublime experience that Shabbos Kodesh can really be.

For the last shiur in the series, Rav Weinberger pulls out the big guns to leave us something to hold on to until a new series on Shabbos is available (there is a new chabura [study group] on the topic of Shabbos happening at the Aish Kodesh shul right now; my friend Dixie Yid is participating in it now. The shul's website has a teleconference number available for anybody interested.). Rav Weinberger quotes from the Rishonim a sefer called the G'vul Binyamin - apparently an obscure and very difficult sefer to learn, written by the earliest of our sages - and brings a kabbalah (in this sense, a tradition, although there are mystical connotations) that the author writes that he received from his own teachers about the roots of Shabbos.

Originally, HaShem created the world, with time and space being limited to only six days, each consisting of 28 hours. Altogether the week equals 168 hours, corresponding to the 28 "times" that Shlomo HaMelech refers to in Kohelet.

These six days asked HaShem for a king and HaShem replied that if they want a king, it has to be from amongst themselves. Just like when bnei Yisrael requested a king, it was understood that such a king would come from our midst, so too with the days of the week. Somehow, this "king" would have to come from them. Therefore, the days of the week agreed to each relinquish four hours of their own structure - a tremendous sacrifice on their part - so that a new day could be created, a day that is 24 hours long. Then there would be seven days of 24 hours each, again equaling to 168 hours in the week, and the six days of creation would have a king. This is Shabbos.

We know that Shabbos is royalty - we call it the "Shabbos Queen" and we wear our finery for Shabbos' honor. But more than that, royalty represents the idea of cohesion, the unifying factor of a nation. The King exerts his influence over us, leads us, gives us direction. Conversely, we know that "there is no King without a nation," - by rallying together under the banner of one sovereign, we face things as a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts, truly crowning our leader. Just as a King has a powerful influence in shaping our lives, Shabbos has the power to shape our week - for better or worse. If we observe Shabbos properly, with holiness and purity, that will extend into the week; if we don't give it the respect it deserves, if we squander our time on Shabbos with mundane affairs or God forbid desecrate the Shabbos - the quality of our week will be negatively affected.

The six days represent the six different directions, each branching off on its own, susceptible to the danger of aimless wandering, of lacking a solid grounding. Shabbos is their starting point, and gives them direction by projecting its holy influence over the other days of the week, who "willingly" accepted the yoke of Shabbos leadership. The holy AR"I HaKadosh describes it in his piyut, Azamer b'Shvachin as "To the right and to the left, and between them the Bride,"; the six days escort the Shabbos, flanking her on each side. This is, I suppose, one reason why the cutoff point for Shnayim mikra v'Echad targum of the previous week is Tuesday; Wednesday already "belongs" to the entourage of the approaching Shabbos while Tuesday is still part of the previous week's procession.

This Torah from Rav Weinberger blew me away, and is only a taste of how deep and truly beautiful the secrets of Shabbos are.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Reb Tzvi Meir Zilberberg. In English!

Hearing words of encouragement from Reb Tzvi Meir is an unparalleled experience. Hearing a sicha (a sermon) in English from this special tzaddik is a very rare gem for those who struggle with Yiddish and Hebrew.

In this sicha, Reb Tzvi Meir expounds on the essential virtues of Eliezer, Avraham Avinu's servant, and what we must learn from him.

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Powerful stuff.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Anyone who has seen the Unity official music video knows about the tremendous effort exerted to gather folks from across the Jewish music spectrum, to benefit Sholom Rubashkin's cause.

While I personally don't care for the song, nor many of the mainstream artists who contributed, I certainly enjoyed the idea and what they were trying to affect. It's a laudable thing, and halevai ("it should be") we should all take a lesson.

The below clip is a humorous anecdote of two drastically different cultures converging. Watch as MBD reminisces about his own youthful controversies.

It seems that Y-Love and MBD have more in common than we thought. But hey, I guess Seagate can be considered a "ghetto" too, right? Except we'll have to trade the 40 inch rims for cherry lights, light-bars and antennae...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach (1925-1994)

Today is the 16th yahrtzeit of Rabbi Carlebach, affectionately known by many as Rebbe Shlomo.

Rebbe Shlomo was a wonderful singer whose soulful melodies gushed forth from the depth of his heart and penetrated to his listener's very souls. Both his original compositions and the songs that he breathed new life into as he introduced them to a younger generation and broader audience carry messages of hope and longing, of striving for a better world, of a harmonious existence of the spirit and body.

The stories that he would relate to us - stories of ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary feats as well as spiritual giants and their deeds - captured our imaginations and sent us soaring through the transcendent heights that one could reach, if we only "opened our hearts."

I'm well aware of the controversy surrounding Rebbe Shlomo, and I understand why many people have difficulty lending him any credence, but I cannot hep but give him his due. Despite his personal shortcomings, he played an integral role in bringing many people closer to HaShem, including myself. Rebbe Shlomo gave me my first taste of the warmth and energy of Judaism in general, and specifically the world of chassidus. With his stories, he escorted me into the world of Ishbitz and Breslov, and taught me about a holy rebbe from Poland who wrote staggering works filled with insight and love for Jews.
When I first encountered his music, I was going through a particularly difficult time, and I had many questions and not enough answers. Rebbe Shlomo seemed to be the first person to validate my feelings, to echo certain ideas and sentiments that I held that separated me from the more mainstream crowd. Through his world, I was introduced to the broad, textured, incredibly deep experience that being a Torah true Jew can be...

I owe him a tremendous debt for that...

Image result for rabbi carlebachI am sure there are others who feel the same way.

Z'chuso yagein aleinu.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

No laughing matter...

Then HASHEM said to Abraham, "Why is it that Sarah laughed, saying: 'Is it even true that I shall give birth, though I have aged?' (Gen. 18:13)
Scripture altered its report of Sarah's words for the sake of peace, for she had said "and my husband is old." (Rashi, ibid.)
The general understanding of this passage is that when HaShem confronted Avraham Avinu about his wife's response to the message from the angels, He changed the statement to one of self-deprecation on Sarah's part rather than a comment on her husband's age - ostensibly for the sake of shalom bayit (peace in the household).

A question on this Rashi has been bothering me for quite some time. We know that Sarah had a greater level of prophecy than Avraham; why did HaShem have to say anything to Avraham, and restate the facts to preserve marital harmony? Why didn't He just ask Sarah herself why she laughed?

If anybody has an answer, I'd be much obliged...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Today is the yahrtzeit of my grandfather, Reb Eliezer ben R' Yitzchak Chaim A"H. He died five years ago, out of the blue, and I still miss him terribly.

PLease try to have him in mind during your tefillot (prayers) and learning throughout the day.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Guide to Happiness

 I'm telling you like this: if you want be happy, if you want to mamash experience joy, first you need to be happy for no reason. That's it, joy for no reason. And if you can do that, sweetest friends, then you'll start finding thousands of reasons for joy. - Rebbe Shlomo Carlebach

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Awesome Guitar Soloing!

I was feeling nostalgic about the classic electric guitar shred-fests from the Eighties, so I looked up this video:

Paul Gilbert is an extremely talented guitarist who was in several pioneering thrash bands, most notably Racer X. Technical Difficulties is one of his signature showcase songs. Enjoy!

Catch Karduner before he returns to the Holy Land!

For those of you who missed the Hillula (celebration) for Reb Kalonymos Kalman hosted by Congregation Aish Kodesh last motzei Shabbos (I didn't...!), there's still a chance to hear Yosef Karduner's beautiful melodies at three locations in the Tri-State area:

Thursday Oct 14 @ 8:00 p.m.
Torah Ohr, 75 Middle Neck Rd, Great Neck
$10 admission, separate seating 
Saturday Oct 16 @ 9:00 p.m.
Jewish Music Café
401 9th Street, Brooklyn, NY
$15 admission, separate seating
Sunday Oct. 17 @ 7:00 p.m.
The ROC House (Ramath Orah)
550 West 110th St. New York, NY
$15 admission ($12 Students), separate seating

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Rabbi Shapira was very striking in his appearance. He is universally recalled as being handsome and well groomed, distinguished and elegant - although not "modern" - in his dress. He radiated an aura of dignity and nobility. His eyes were penetrating, his manner thoughtful and deliberate. As one person put it, "He was the most impressive man I ever met in my life. You could not be indifferent to him."
Those who knew his family well and who were often present at his home recall the atmosphere of love and respect that prevailed in the household. The mutual devotion and admiration between the rebbe and his wife, Rachel [Chaya] Miriam Hapstein, were evident to all. Like her three sisters, Rachel [Chaya] Miriam was very learned; she would avidly follow her husband's discourses. In one passage, he notes that his wife reviewed his writings, making comments and posing questions. When she passed away in 1937, he wrote a poignant and moving letter to his chassidim in Eretz Yisrael eulogizing her. Chassidim recall that after her passing Rabbi Shapira never again played the violin.
The following took place soon after her passing: the rebbe led one of his close chassidim to a cabinet in his home, opened up the drawer, and took out a piece of paper. On it was written a ma'amar ... but as the chassid noted, the handwriting changed in the middle of the paper. The rebbe explained that he was writing his ma'amar when he was called away for a medical consultation. When he returned, he saw that his Rebbetzin had picked up the pen and finished writing the ma'amar. Displaying the treasured paper in is hand, the rebbe looked at the chassid and said, "You see, this is the true fulfillment of the verse 'And they shall be one flesh'!" - Nehemia Polen, The Holy Fire: The Teachings of Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, the Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto  (Jason Aronson Press)

The above passage moved me very much when I read it a short while ago. I am always looking to learn new things about the rebbe; the appreciation and pride that the rebbe so clearly displays for his zivug is an inspiration that has bolstered my own relationships...

Also, consider the description of the rebbe's appearance. In a very modest way, the rebbe was able to carry himself with a certain regal bearing. His efforts to look presentable were not a manifestation of some prideful egocentric need to impress, but rather a lesson on the importance of looking like a mentsch.

Monday, October 11, 2010

לזכרון עולם
הרה"צ קלונימוס קלמן בהרה"צ אלימלך זצוק"ל הי"ד
אדמור דק"ק פיסצנא
"בעל הספרי קודש "חובת התלמידים" "הכשרת אבריכים" "מבוא השערים" "צו וזירוז" "בני מחשבה טובה" "דרך המלך" 
"ו"אש קודש 
נפטר על קידוש השם ד' ר"ם חשון התש"ד
זכותו יגן עלינו

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Keep on shucklin'

B'nei Machshava Tova: Let it move you...!: "Beruriah [the daughter of Reb Meir] happened upon a scholar who was studying silently. She gave him a kick, and said to him: 'It is written ..."

Keeping it together...

גל עיני ואביטה נפלאות מתורתך

"Open my eyes, and I will gaze upon the wonders of Your Torah."

Reb Shlomo of Radomsk (author of Tifferes Shlomo) offered a different interpretation of this verse:

Master of the World, open up my eyes, so that when a fellow Jew is in pain - I will see that a letter has fallen (נפל-אות) from Your Torah.

We are taught that there are 600,000 letters in the Torah, and 600,000 Jewish souls.

A sefer Torah that is missing a letter, or has a crack or marking between two letters, effectively separating them, is rendered unfit for use.

When we see a fellow Jew who is struggling, and getting further away from his or her Source, we are all in peril. The Radomsker was begging for the ability to empathize, to relate to this poor Jew. By doing so, he could hope to elevate his brother and himself.

The same applies if there is God forbid any discord between Jews; according to our sages, the only vessel that can receive and contain blessing is a whole one, devoid of any fracture or fissure. If the structure is compromised, the whole vessel is useless.

If we lack unity, if things come between us and our brethren, can we really be so astounded when we hear about so much tragedy in the world? Can we honestly question why Moshiach hasn't come?

One person in a position of influence has made this idea his manifesto. An article he wrote was guest-posted to Cross-Currents, although I discovered it through Rabbi Harry Maryles' blog.

Please take the time to read it. In this man's quest, I see more than a glimmer of hope. It's what I would love for my children, the kind of environment I would want them to learn in...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Leadership qualities...

There is a wonderful Torah in the Kedushas Levi by Reb Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev on this week's Parsha (Torah portion). The first time I saw it several years ago, my head almost exploded.

It's a lengthy piece worth seeing inside, and since I don't want to ruin it by putting it into my own words, I'll only summarize the main idea:

There are two types of Tzaddikim (righteous men): there is the one who goes about his own business, keeping to himself and working on his own issues. He doesn't try and use his influence to convince others to grow and repent. The second type is one who involves himself with his surroundings, getting to know others, striving not only to correct himself but to elevate, encourage, and bring along his community.

The archetypes of these two different paths of righteousness are Noach and Avraham, respectively.

The preferred method is the latter - Avraham's way.

The way represented by Noach is insufficient to the extent that Noach had to be reincarnated as Moshe Rabbeinu - the ultimate leader, constantly busy with his flock - in order to make a Tikkun.

I know that there are several earlier commentaries that express this idea or something similar to it, but take a look at the Kedushas Levi (it's at the bottom of the page)!

Rav Moshe Weinberger on The Holocaust, Tzfat, and Rebbe Nachman

I meant to post this on the second day of Chol HaMoed, which is Rebbe Nachman's yahrtzeit (anniversary of death), but I didn't have a chance and it got lost in the shuffle.

Enjoy this *little* speech by Rav Weinberger given at a benefit dinner several years ago:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Shmini Atzeres/Simchas Torah 5771 Retrospective III (or, the "segula" of the Segol)

The shul where I pray on Shabbos Kodesh goes according to the Nusach Ashkenaz/Lithuanian minhagim (customs), pronunciations, and liturgical order. As can be expected, there are numerous differences (some minor, some more significant) from the Nusach Sefard litrugy. One of those differences was showcased when we commenced adding in the words of praise "He makes the wind blow and He makes the rain descend," into the Amidah prayer. These words are inserted into the prayer for the duration of the period between Shmini Atzeret and Pesach; typically, this is the rainy season for most regions - in the Holy Land, it's practically the only time the country gets any rain.

One of the differences is that Nusach Ashkenaz inserts this prayer during this time period, but the period between Pesach and Sukkot has nothing added in. Nusach Sefard, however, inserts this praise as an alternative to the praise of "He makes the dew descend," (a smaller subset within  Nusach Sefard says this along with the prefacing "he makes the wind blow..." effectively switching "dew" and "rain". This is my own nusach.) which is used during the season between Pesach and Sukkot.

Yet another difference which was emphasized this year during the hakafot was the pronunciation of the hebrew word for "rain". The Hebrew alphabet has no vowels, so we rely on vowelization points (called nekudot; literally, "points") to illustrate how certain words are pronounced. With one subtle change between nekudot, the meaning and nuance of a word can change entirely, including differences in tense, active/passive, etc. The Ashkenaz pronounce the Hebrew word for "rain" as Gashem (Guh-shem), whereas the Sefard pronunciation is Geshem (Geh-shem).

In Hebrew, the word appears as "גשם"; the nekudot appear under the Gimmel and Shin. For Nusach Ashkenaz, the vowelizations are kometz (Kuh-metz, affecting the uh sound) and segol (Seh-goal, providing the eh sound), respectively. Nusach Sefard on the other hand provides a double segol to account for the pronunciation.

While I'm not familiar with all the significance of the various nekudot, their interplay and underlying themes, I have seen some things about the segol that come up at different points of the year. For example, there are several ways to arrange the items on the seder plate for Pesach. The Vilna Gaon OBM dictates that the items should be set in a clockwise order in order to ensure that we don't pass over one mitzvah for the sake of fulfilling another. The Ba'al HaTanya describes the setup of the plate in such a way that the items on the plate are arranged in a formation that shows two segols stacked one atop another.

The particular significance of the double segol (i.e. one after another, or juxtaposed in some way) is the fact that the Hebrew word Chesed (roughly translated as "loving-kindness") is spelled with two segols. Therefore, anything with the double segol has an undertone of chesed, as it were - a connotation that we should specifically request for an outpouring of kindness from Above. This can be applied here, as well. Rain is beyond our control; it is a physical manifestation of God's kindness. With the presence of rain we cannot grow crops, wash away grime and spent topsoil, etc. Perhaps we can say that the underlying reason for pronouncing it as geshem is because of this connection to chesed.

As I was discussing this idea with Reb Micha during the chag, another idea occurred to me. On a deeper level, we can theorize that the double segol alludes to the Etz Chaim representation of the Sefirot, specifically the set up of CHaBaD (Chochma Binah Da'at) and ChaGaT (Chesed Gevura Tifferet), where the Intellectual sefirot (the Mochin) are reflected by the Higher Emotional sefirot (the Middot) to portray how the Infinite Light (Ohr Ein Sof) is filtered down to our realm of existence...

Obviously, these things are way beyond my comprehension, but based on the little that I know, this thought struck me. Does anyone know if this is a true connection or is it my imagination?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Shmini Atzeres/Simchas Torah 5771 Retrospective II

In Part I, I described my singular, solitary hakafot experience in the closed shul on the first night of the chag. As amazing as it was, I'm happy to admit that it didn't compare to the hakafot we had together on the second day in shul.

But first, some thoughts about the rest of Shmini Atzeret.

As I mentioned earlier, our minhag (custom) is to not sit in the succah on Shmini Atzeret; since Shmini Atzeret is considered its own chag, there are certain issues raised about making certain berachot (blessings), and a possible issue of ba'al tosif (an injunction against adding anything extra to the Torah's commandments). I'm well aware of the back-and-forth concerning this issue and the various reasons why each side has their opinion, but that is beyond the scope of this post. In any event, we only enter the succah on Shmini Atzeret day to make kiddush, and then return to the house for the meal; later - before sunset - we return one last time to the succah to say goodbye to the succah, accompanied by a prayer that we should all merit to reconvene next year in Jerusalem, in the succah made from the hide of the Leviathan.

After making kiddush we went back inside the house to eat. A few moments later, the entire succah collapsed in on itself. While this made disassembling it much easier after the chag, I was a little disheartened that my hard work "fell through". Still, for a first effort, it wasn't that bad...

Getting back to the hakafot, I must say I enjoyed myself immensely. I wasn't expecting such a lively experience in the shul where I pray; generally speaking, the crowd isn't too participative when it comes to group efforts such as singing along during the tefillot. Thankfully, they exceeded my expectations, and I found myself being carried away with all the dancing and singing. There were many children there, and their presence adds a youthful exuberance to the mix that can't be mimicked.

Throughout the chag, I was looking for insights into the "avodah" of the day; I understood that there was a connection between the seven hakafot and the Ushpizin/Sefirot, but I wanted to know what kind of intentions to have during the dancing. Reb Tzvi Meir Zilberberg's students just released a new edition of Sichos HisChazkus (Talks of Encouragement) for this time of year featuring talks given two years ago. In one of the transcripts, Reb Tzvi Meir expounds on different things to have in mind while dancing with the Torah. For example, he points out that in many places, some of the Torah scrolls are dressed up in the special white mantle of the High Holy Days while other scrolls are left in their regular mantles. When we dance with them, he says, we are reminded to thank God for the Torah we have merited to learn already (represented by the white mantles, which symbolize the cleansing effect that real Torah learning has on a person) and to beg God for the merit to learn more Torah, to have more of His infinite wisdom unlocked for us through the Torah we will learn in the coming year (represented by the blue Torahs).

Another observation he shares is that the most important thing we should do is try to attain simcha - that is, even if we don't feel that we have reached that point of boundless joy, the main thing is that we should try, we should dance and sing with all our might.

With those thoughts (and many others) in mind, I sang as loud as I could in a way that would blend nicely with the others' voices. I danced and clapped and tried to hold hands with my brethren as we reveled in the joy of being part of God's chosen nation, with the wonderful gift He gave us, the Torah.

One of the reasons I believe that we dance in a circle is because it's easier to dance with your eyes closed, feeling the vibes...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Shmini Atzeres/Simchas Torah 5771 Retrospective I

What a chag!

For starters, this was the first time we ever stayed home for a chag, and I must say, I found it to be very enjoyable. My wife as usual really outdid herself and everything ran smoothly, and there is just something about being in your own home rather than transplanting yourself into another's - no matter how comfortable you feel in their home.

I had several interesting/uplifting experiences and observations over the course of the three day festivities that I'd like to share.

My family's minhag (custom) follows that of the Nusach Sefard/Chassidic way: on the first night of the chag, we no longer eat in the succah, and we have a truncated version of the hakafot. The next day, we make kiddush in the succah and return to the house for the rest of the meal. Where I live, there aren't many shuls that follow that minhag (i.e. the hakafot on the first night). I asked around, and someone told me about one shul nearby that was having a speedy version on the first night. I ran home to check in with my wife before going, just to make sure that all was good at the homestead. Apparently, the little ones were getting restless and we agreed that it would be wiser to take care of them and I would figure out what to do after we ate the seudah.

Luckily, I had anticipated this possible issue and had spoken to the rabbi of the shul where I pray. He agreed to show me where the keys to the Aron Kodesh (holy Ark, where the Torah scrolls are kept) were hidden in case I needed to return and do the hakafot there.

After the seudah, I let myself into the shul, where it was pitch black, save for the ner tamid (everlasting flame; usually a lamp suspended in front of the Aron) and an emergency light shining on the Aron.

Donning a tallit, I slowly chanted Atah Horaita LoDa'at as I unlocked the Aron and removed one of the smaller Torah scrolls, decked in the white mantle designed for the High Holy Days. Despite its size, the Torah was heavy, causing me to clutch it to my body that much tighter.

With care and deliberation, I proceeded through the slightly shorter version of the hakafot designated for Shmini Atzeret. While the initial feeling was awkward - singing aloud in an empty, darkened sanctuary, with vaulted ceilings that made my lone voice echo throughout the room - I soon began to get into it, losing sense of my surroundings.

The Torah of HaShem is perfect... I circled the bimah (altar), concentrating on attaching myself to Avraham Avinu (the patriarch Abraham) and resolving to rectify myself in the aspect of loving-kindness...

The testimony of HaShem is trustworthy... singing the niggun Simcha (joyous melody) of the Lubavitch Chassidim; in emulation of the characteristic of Yitzchak Avinu (the patriarch Isaac) I begged God to help me be strong in my service to Him, introducing a structured, systematic element to my service that would enhance it...

The orders of HaShem are upright...The Breslov "Ivdu es HaShem b'Simcha" (serve God with Joy) seemed an appropriate choice for Yaakov Avinu's (Jacob) hakafah - seeking harmony and shleimut (completion) in every aspect of Judaism no matter what the occasion calls for requires a healthy dosage of Joy ...

The command of HaShem is clear... I had an opportunity to use a niggun I learned that is reputedly one composed by Reb Kalonymos Kalman; from one shepherd to another, it felt right to sing it by Moshe Rabbeinu's hakafah...

The fear of HaShem is pure...I prayed to be considered one of the students of Aharon HaKohen (the High Priest Aaron) - loving peace and pursuing it, with my family, friends, and colleagues. Rebbe Shlomo's (technically Breslov's) Oz V'Hadar kept my feet moving on this one, though the time was certainly getting late, and my arms were getting heavier...

The judgments of HaShem are true...Picking up the tempo with a Bluzhever niggun, I focused on Yosef HaTzaddik's (Joseph the Righteous) resilience in the face of the most powerful, lurid of temptations - coupled with rock solid faith, it forms the foundation for living a lifestyle true to HaShem and His Torah design. If only I could learn from him when faced with my own obstacles!

They are more desirable than gold...Dovid HaMelech (King David) - the sweet singer of Israel, who described himself with the words "And prayer," whose characteristic is the most pertinent one today, in this generation preceding the redemption. I try to find personal meaning in his words every day, and strive to connect to the thousands of words that we have incorporated into our daily prayers that were coaxed from his heartstrings. With the song "David, king of Israel, is alive and everlasting" on my lips, I asked God how long will it be before we witness the redemption, and will I be among those who will merit to see it?

What an experience! Those hakafot were truly transcendent, and when I was finished, my clothes were soaked through. Spent, I put the Torah away, locked up, and went home - dancing all the way.