Pay it Forward: Become a Supporter of the Work. Learn More
From Rav Chaim Vital, we learn a story about the Ari's life. Usually, we receive teachings or consciousness from the Ari, but in this case, when it comes to Simchat Torah, Rav Chaim Vital relates that this was one of the times in the year when the Ari not only did the connections for himself, which means when he had his group or was in his place of prayer, he also would do the hakafot (circling). Rav Chaim Vital writes that he would literally go from place to place to find more opportunities to dance around with the Torah.
This story tells us that this action is extremely significant. The Ari explains that this last day of connection is called Shemini Atzeret, which the Zohar speaks about. It is a time when the Creator fully and completely embraces us, and there is no opening for negativity. It is when the totality of all the work that we have done comes into fruition. That is the time to receive all the Light that we have awakened. The work we have done and the blessings we need and desire to have in the New Year are awakened because the Zivug (the coming together of Zeir Anpin and Malchut) is represented on this eighth day.
So, every second we spend walking or dancing around the Torah in a circle is another second we are drawing from that Light. Therefore, the Ari says, "It is nice that I did four or five hours of my own connection, now I do not want to stop receiving. I have a whole 365 days to worry about, or not to be worried about, but to draw Light to." Every step and every minute that you can maintain this consciousness and be a part of this action translates to one more drop of Light, one more blessing, one more moment of assistance or joy—it’s one more hour, day, or month of joy we are going to have this year. So, this is the time when we literally have a limitless vessel, and we are just drawing in Light every second that you can be present with that consciousness. The worlds are coming together; the Creator is embracing us, ready to give. And every step you take, every time you go around with the Torah, you are connecting to that internal Light of the Creator that is the Light of the Torah, drawing endless blessings for this entire year.
I always have this vision of the Ari walking around the city of Tzfat this evening, trying to find one more opportunity to be able to dance with the Torah, to go around in a circle with the Torah so that he can, for himself, for those around him, and for the world, continue to draw endless blessings.