Finally, a moment to blog. Like just about every other frum lady within a gazillion mile radius, the chagim are over, the laundry is done, and we had a Shabbos to, well, rest. While I was working up until the very last second before benchlicht, I spent a blissful Shabbos sleeping in, davening leisurely, eating low-key meals, and catching up on some much-needed learning. Sure, I ate way too much cake, but it was a really nice day. I even treated myself to havdalah over apple juice, since grape juice just doesn't seem to agree with me lately.
As previously noted, Simchat Torah is my runner-up favourite holiday, and this year did not disappoint. First, while it isn't my minhag, I very much enjoyed eating in the sukkah over Shemini Atzeret, and it felt bittersweet when I bid the sukkah farewell for the year. All things have their time and season, I know, but despite the cool weather (and yes, everyone found it riotously funny that I wore my lighter winter coat for every meal), the company was first-rate, the food was delish, and somehow, the mitzvah seemed especially meaningful.
The first lunch, I had the pleasure of meeting up with an old friend of mine, a fellow blogger, and I literally jumped out my seat in excitement when I saw her. It's been too long, and I really enjoyed catching up with her. She is a most kindred spirit, and I always love being in her company; I leave feeling recharged. Our hosts for that meal were old friends whom I have not had the pleasure of eating by for quite some time. So it was lovely to be back in their fantastic presence. And finally, maybe the nicest surprise of the chag was that I got to hang out with our vegetarian friends, who I mentioned a few posts back. The wife and I had several long conversations until the wee hours of the morning over some excellent tea...if any of you get a chance, I recommend that you try the Rose Chai Wizzotsky puts out. Very yummy. So, not that I hadn't previously felt close to her or otherwise considered her a friend, bu this chag truly solidified the bond. At least on my end... :-)
Hakofos is always wonderful, as is watching all the men/boys get aliyahs. I went by our local shtiebel in the evening, where my husband davens. It was really nice to see all of our mutual friends together, and the emotional aspect of the evening was very gratifying. People were in high spirits, drunk if you will with Torah. And that's a beautiful thing. During the day, I went to my usual shul, toute seule, and maybe it was having said yizkor the day before or being alone, but I really noted how Simchat Torah is about family. Part of what I love about Simchat Torah is the memory of being a little girl watching the absolute splendour as the shul's many Torahs made a regal circuit around the shul. Such pomp! Such beauty! And, most of all, I remember how I would wave my little flag with its apple perched on top (apples are the local fall harvest in my native area, and I suppose apples also somehow allude back to Rosh Hashana) furiously whenever my Dad would go by me in the procession. And so I especially appreciated this year how the children seemed to drink it all in. That's the point: to instill in the next generations the beauty and glory of Torah by expressing joy over it.
Anyhow, now comes the long stretch between Simchat Torah and Pesach. Sure, there's Chanukkah and Purim. But it will be interesting to see how well we do in keeping the momentum up. Today in my davening, I tried to instill a bit of the fervour I had on Rosh Hashana into things. Hopefully, with Hashem's help, I can continue to do so going forward, ad infinitum.