Wednesday, October 26, 2005

203. Dancing

I should really be asleep right now, but my body and brain can't stop moving.

Every year I doubt that the fun of the past Simchat Torah can be surpassed, and every year I'm wrong. Imagine the happiest wedding you've ever attended, and multiply by a thousand. The sanctuary was filled tonight, hundreds and hundreds of bodies linking into swirling eddies that moved like friendly tornadoes from one end of the room to the other. In the center of each circle was a sefer Torah, or two or three, held aloft or clutched to someone's heart as they jumped up and down and tried to raise it as high above the crowd as they could. I moved between rings of spinning dancers to chains of people with their hands on each other's shoulders who snaked past each deliriously rotating circle. Sometimes I felt like I was carried on a big human wave, and if I closed my eyes would keep gaining momentum until I took flight above the crowd. From the balcony we looked like an earthquake, unconstrained bodies bubbling to the rhythm of the keyboard and drums.

The rabbis were the most ecstatic of all, arms around each others' shoulders as they jumped, in love and joy, the highest of anyone.

I was going to leave after the fifth hakafa, but kept remembering that this was it, after tomorrow--time goes back to normal. I didn't want it to end just yet. To leave all those people and Torot when I could still stand in their midst and feel them dance around me seemed almost horrifying. So I stood off to the side, gathered my energy, and stayed thorough the Torah reading and last hakafa, the one for teenagers who were much more awake at that hour than the rest of us. Everyone kept dancing even after the service ended, the cantor in his funny shirt with the musical notes all over it singing niggunim as loudly as ever. I finally tore myself away, because I wanted to make sure I had enough energy to do it all over again tomorrow.


Regina said...

I am so there, aa! It was a grand and exhilirating experience, one that I hope to experience for many years to come!

Lori said...

what a beautiful post..