As the Sukkot holiday came to an end, many Israelis attended the traditional Hakafot Shniot (Second Hakafot). At these Hakafot, Torahs are brought out, hakafot are read/sung before a crowd with a live band, and hundreds of people who are ready to dance the night away. It is truly a breathtaking sight…Hundreds of men, women, and children dancing the night away…yet again, to the tunes of old, as well as new tunes.
In my home town, we have an eight piece band. Local musicians, and musicans from other nearby locales all conjoin to create a Band of the Ages. Kids and adults dance their hearts out to the thumping Judaic beats. Israelis, Americans, South Africans, Canadians, Ethiopians, Yeminites, Moroccans…we are ALL represented in the throngs of dancing madness.
It is truly a KIbbutz Galiot (Ingathering of the Nations) on our home town basketball court. Old, and young…everyone is up and dancing their hearts to the beat.
Why do we do it? Why do we want to dance, isn’t there tons of cleaning to do after the holiday? Wouldn’t we rather go out to a movie, or chill at home with the TV?
I think we all partake in the madness because it is a celebration. The end of Sukkot is the end of the time of Teshuva that we began from the month of Elul. We have officially closed the door to the New Year. Now, we can officially celebrate the New Year in style…with song, dance, good food, and terrific friends. As it says in Kolelet (Ecclesiastes 3:4)
עֵת לִבְכּוֹת וְעֵת לִשְׂחוֹק,
עֵת סְפוֹד וְעֵת רְקוֹד.
There is a time to cry, and a time to laugh, A time to wail, and a time to dance!
We will enter this New Year with the knowledge that there will be both good times and bad times, but we must always put our best foot forward, and try to be as positive as we can. No life is ever perfect, but if we dance, we can make it all much more manageable! So, put on those dancing shoes and dance your hearts out this year!