Shmini Atzeres

This week is Shabbos Shemini Atzeres. On Sunday we celebrate Simchas Torah, as we finish reading the entire Torah, and begin it again from the beginning of Genesis. The question asked is, if on Shavuos is the day we mark getting the Torah at Mount Sinai, why do we celebrate on Simchas Torah? Why do we have two separate days of celebration - on Shavuos and on Simchas Torah?

There are two ways that a present can be considered important. One is by it in of itself having great monetary value. The intrinsic worth of an item makes it valuable. The other way to make something important is because of the person giving it. If a simple card is sent to you with the President’s signature, even if the card is inexpensive, the fact that the President of the United States has signed it makes it valuable.

On Shavuos, we celebrate the Torah because of the Torah’s great spiritual value – the fact that the Divine wisdom of the Torah is more valuable than anything else in the world. This makes the gift of the Torah such a great and special item that is worth rejoicing over. On Simchas Torah, we celebrate the closeness that we have with Hashem, that is shown by the fact that He gave us His Torah. That relationship is a great cause of celebration and of rejoicing. This was borne out by the fact that Hashem gave us the Luchos, the two tablets with the Ten commandments, for a second time, on Yom Kippur. This relationship is celebrated with Simchas Torah at the end of the Succos Holiday, which follows immediately after Yom Kippur and marks the great love and closeness that exist between Hashem and the Jewish people. The outpouring of dancing and rejoicing that occur on Simchas Torah reflect this closeness and relationship to G-d that we , the Jewish people, have had the merit to have.