Halacha for Sunday 21 Tishrei 5780 October 20 2019

Simchat Torah

The Rambam (end of Chapter 8 of Hilchot Lulav) states: “Even though it is a Mitzvah to rejoice on all the festivals, there was an additional celebration in the Temple on the festival of Sukkot, as the Torah commands: ‘And you shall rejoice before Hashem, your G-d, for seven days.’ What was the nature of this celebration? The flute would be sounded and songs played on the harp, lute, and cymbals. [In addition,] each person would play on the instrument which he knew. Those who could sing, would sing. They would dance and clap their hands, letting loose and whistling, each individual in the manner which he knew. Words of song and praise were recited. The entire people - the men and the women - would come to see and hear. Whoever holds himself proud, giving himself honor, and acts haughtily in such situations is a sinner and a fool. Concerning this, Solomon warned ‘Do not seek glory before the King.’ [In contrast,] anyone who lowers himself and thinks lightly of his person in these situations is [truly] a great person, worthy of honor, who serves G-d out of love. Thus, David, King of Israel, declared: ‘I will hold myself even more lightly esteemed than this and be humble in my eyes,’ because there is no greatness or honor other than celebrating before Hashem, as the verse states: ‘King David was dancing wildly and whistling before God.’”

The Rambam derives the above Halacha from King David’s behavior when the Holy Ark was being carried to Jerusalem at which time he danced wildly before it. When King David returned home, his wife, Michal, daughter of King Shaul, told him, “My forefathers would never behave in such a manner and not even a small portion of their arms or legs would ever become uncovered in public. They were more honorable than you.” King David replied, “Your father’s household were concerned about their own honor and they disregarded the honor of Heaven. I disregard my own honor and am concerned about the honor of Heaven! Was I dancing before a king of flesh and blood? I was dancing wildly before the King of all kings!”

Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l understood from here that one should put forth great effort to dance and rejoice on Simchat Torah. Indeed, in his youth, Maran zt”l would remove his frock coat (rabbinical garb) and dance joyously and vigorously in honor of the Torah. This was likewise the behavior of his esteemed father, Rabbi Yaakov zt”l, on Simchat Torah. People actually exclaimed that Rabbi Yaakov merited a son like Maran zt”l because of how he would rejoice on Simchat Torah. Hagaon Rabbi David Attieh Shlit”a (son of the venerated Rosh Yeshivat of Porat Yosef, Hagaon Rabbi Ezra zt”l)and several other great Torah scholar would dance before Maran zt”l on Simchat Torah as though dancing before the Torah itself. This sight was reminiscent of how the Sages of the Mishnah described the festivities in the Bet Hamikdash during the Sukkot holiday.

Our Sages stated: “One who has not seen the festivities in the Bet Hamikdash during the Sukkot holiday has never seen a true joyous occasion.” However, this seems difficult since there are many joyous occasions in one’s life, for instance, one’s own wedding or the marriage of a child! What is it then that made the festivities in the Bet Hamikdash on Sukkot so special? Rather, the joy in the Bet Hamikdash was a spiritual joy from whence people drew Ru’ach Ha’Kodesh (see Yerushalmi, Sukkah, Chapter 5). On Simchat Torah, we are likewise rejoicing about the fact that Hashem has given us an Eternal Torah. May we merit drawing a spirit of sanctity and purity from this special joy, Amen!

Tizku Le’Shanim Rabbot Ne’imot Ve’Tovot!

Ask the Rabbi


ספר אביר הרועים - בית מידות
ספר אביר הרועים
לפרטים לחץ כאן

הלכה יומית מפי הראש"ל הגאון רבי יצחק יוסף שליט"א

דין ברכת שפטרנו מעונשו של זה
לחץ כאן לצפייה בשיעורים נוספים

Recent Halachot

"תנא דבי אליהו כל השונה הלכות בכל יום מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא"

נדה ע"ג א'

8 Halachot Most Popular

Eating and Washing One’s Self Yom Kippur

Some Laws of Yom Kippur All are obligated to fast on Yom Kippur, including pregnant and nursing women. Any woman whose health is at risk due to the fast should consult a prominent Torah scholar who is well-versed in these laws and he should render his ruling whether or not she must fast. One whose ......

Read Halacha

Motza’ei Yom Kippur

Adding From the Mundane Onto the Holiness One must add some of the mundane weekday onto the holiness of Yom Kippur upon its exit, i.e. one should not end this holy day immediately with nightfall; rather, one should wait another few minutes. Thus, it is prohibited to eat or perform work on Motza&rsq......

Read Halacha

The Obligation to Eat in the Sukkah

Since there is not so much time left to discuss the laws of Sukkot, let us now spend the next few Halachot discussing some pertinent Halachot for the upcoming Sukkot holiday. A Meal of an Established Character Throughout the entire Sukkot holiday, both during the night and day, it is prohibited ......

Read Halacha

Reciting Selichot Alone, Without a Minyan

Question: If one is unable to recite Selichot with a Minyan (quorum of at least ten Jewish men) for whatever reason or if a woman wishes to recite Selichot and she cannot do so with a Minyan, may one recite the Selichot texts alone or should one abstain from doing so? Answer: If one wishes to rec......

Read Halacha


The Laws of Eating a Kezayit of Bread in the Sukkah on the First Night of Sukkot and One who is Uncomfortable in the Sukkah

In the previous Halacha we have discussed that one may not eat an established meal outside of the Sukkah anytime during the Sukkot holiday. One must be aware that the reward for the Mitzvah of Sukkah is that it protects one during turbulent times (see Zohar, Parashat Tetzaveh). The Mitzvah of......

Read Halacha

The Custom of “Tashlich”

Following Mincha services of the first day of Rosh Hashanah, it is customary to go to a seashore, river, well, or pit in order to recite the order of “Tashlich.” If there is no river, lake, or pond in close proximity of one’s vicinity, it is likewise perfectly acceptable to recite ......

Read Halacha

The Proper Behavior for the Days of Rosh Hashanah-The Custom of Maran zt”l

It is customary to eat red meat and sweet foods on the days of Rosh Hashanah, as the verse in Nechemia states, “Go eat fatty foods and drink sweet beverages and sent gifts of food to those who do not have, for the day is sanctified to our Lord.” One may not fast at all on Rosh Hashana......

Read Halacha

Blowing the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah

It is a positive Torah commandment to hear the Shofar blasts on the day of Rosh Hashanah, as the verse states, “It shall be a day of [Shofar] blasts for you.” One may not speak between the various sets of Shofar blasts and certainly not during the blasts themselves. The Poskim disagree r......

Read Halacha