An Ode to Torah

A few years ago, I wrote a blog post about two contrasting Simchat Torah experiences. This year, Simchat Torah will be different than anything we have ever experienced, due to COVID-19. While we are saddened that we cannot dance as usual this year, I wanted to share a poem I wrote in 2018, during my time in Israel as a Shana Bet student. I hope this ode will lighten the mood set by the dark COVID cloud looming over us, and remind us why we celebrate at all. 

With her quill in hand, she takes a deep breath, and begins. She revives the ancient tales of yore. She frees those who are enslaved to themselves. She sanctified the profane. She strides through the desert, taking each grain of sand into consideration. She bids farewell to those who have been with her all along, giving them the motivation and tools to continue onto their next great adventure.
She’s under-appreciated, misunderstood, mistreated, disrespected.
She’s loved, cared for, iconic, well versed, brilliant, poetic.
On her majestic horse, She rides off mysteriously into the night, leaving us stunned in curiosity.
The cosmos gaze at her with wonder.
She sails through the vast waves of the ocean, peering through the mist towards the great horizon that waits for her.
Her passion radiates from the fire within her. She is a flame that can never be extinguished. Not even by the most distinguished.
She meets her opposers with dignity and grace.
She stands tall and firmly like a tree, each leaf of wisdom falling gently to the ground.

I sit in a crowded lecture hall, hoping to bask in her brilliance. All I can ask for is the ability to say just two words to her: “Thank You.” I couldn’t fathom being able to meet her. Little do I know that she’s been waiting for me this whole time. She listens to my question with patience and admiration.
On the coldest evening, she offers me a steaming cup of hot cocoa.
Through the thickest silence, I can hear her call.
She is always looking over my shoulder, gently encouraging me all along.
She is my mentor, teacher, and role model.
She is my comrade and confidant.
She is my best friend.

She is Torah.

About the Author
Tzivia Appleman is a junior at NYU, majoring in Politics with a minor in Philosophy. She is Vice President of the Orthodox Jewish club at NYU, is a member of NYU Student Government, and interns for New York state and federal elected officials. She also spent 1.5 years at MMY immersing herself in Talmud Torah and engaging with the Mesorah in Israel.
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