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Monday, November 06, 2006

Ramchal on Simchat Torah

This is a poem the Ramchal wrote to be included in the Simchat Torah liturgy after the 7th hakafah. Read it carefully. The ramchal saw the hakafot as being expressive of the desire of the Jewish people to return to the land of Israel and see it rebuilt.

The hakafot may have been seen by the Ramchal as a re-enactment of the hakafot that the Jewish people observed before the conquest of Yericho. The ritual may demonstrate that the the ultimate purpose of Torah is not just abstract thought but also to bring that abstract thought down into the world.

In other words, the purpose of simchat Torah to the ramchal was not simply to have abstract joy engendered by the Torah but rather to channel that joy towards real spiritual and physical goals.

How do you understand this poem in light of the traditional theme of simchat Torah?