October 11, 2015 1:58 am at 1:58 am #1104972
Just because in the past women haven’t danced on Simchas Torah, it doesn’t mean that they can’t. There is absolutely nothing wrong with women celebrating the Torah by dancing. Even if they can’t hold a sefer torah.October 11, 2015 2:11 am at 2:11 am #1104973
And just because in the past men haven’t worn Hawaiian shirts with yellow polka dot pants on Simchas Torah doesn’t mean they can’t do that now to celebrate Yom Tov.October 11, 2015 2:53 am at 2:53 am #1104974
Except that there is no tradition of wearing Hawaiian shirts with yellow polka dot pants to celebrate events in Judaism.October 11, 2015 2:53 am at 2:53 am #1104975
I enjoy it by being the “Peckal Lady” The children in my area (roughly 600 children KY”H)receive a beautiful peckal either Simchas Torah by night or by day depending on how many children there are per shul and how my supply is doing.October 11, 2015 3:14 am at 3:14 am #1104976
Except that there is no tradition of wearing Hawaiian shirts with yellow polka dot pants to celebrate events in Judaism.
I think you just fell right into his trap.October 11, 2015 3:20 am at 3:20 am #1104977
No I didn’t. There is no comparison between Hawaiian shirts with yellow polka dot pants and dancing in Judaism.October 11, 2015 3:33 am at 3:33 am #1104978
There is a comparison between Hawaiian shirts with yellow polka dot pants and women dancing to celebrate Simchas Torah in Judaism. They’re both not traditional.October 11, 2015 3:46 am at 3:46 am #1104979
DY- Dancing is a traditional way to celebrate the Torah. Dancing is a traditional way for women to celebrate things. Not every permutation needs to be played out.
In years past, most women didn’t really learn any Torah. They only connection to Torah was through supporting their husbands and it makes sense that their celebrating of Torah was through their husbands. Nowadays women are learning more and more Torah, their connection to Torah is not solely through their husband and it makes sense that some of them may want to celebrate in ways that aren’t solely through their husband. That doesn’t mean it’s not traditional. It was just never a situation that expressed itself in the past with most women not engaged in personal Talmud Torah as much.
Also, women who don’t support any men in learning Torah (like if they are single) probably aren’t “yotzei” by watching other men celebrate. It makes sense that they should have their own celebrations.October 11, 2015 3:50 am at 3:50 am #1104980
Parakeets, planets, onions, discussions, boys, pianos, roses, orchestras and velvet are comparable because they are not penguins.October 11, 2015 3:50 am at 3:50 am #1104981
Women learning is itself not traditional (although there were always exceptions) so that doesn’t help his argument much.October 11, 2015 4:10 am at 4:10 am #1104982
RebYidd23, if the discussion were about their being penguins, that comment would be relevant.October 11, 2015 4:12 am at 4:12 am #1104983
Why can’t women hold a Torah and dance on Simchas Torah? In both shuls in my community women dance with the Torah.October 11, 2015 4:18 am at 4:18 am #1104984
Joseph, you still haven’t given a reason why women can’t dance on Simchas Torah.October 11, 2015 4:56 am at 4:56 am #1104985
Then I guess I was talking to the walls.October 11, 2015 5:17 am at 5:17 am #1104986
Matan- his reason is, since it’s not traditional, it’s not the way. Did women dance on Simchas Torah in Europe? No. Then it’s not the way it is done nor should it be done. Even though there might be a stronger logical connection between dancing and Simchas Torah then polka dotted shirts and Simchas Torah, since neither are traditional, they are equally invalid ways for women to celebrate Simchas Torah. I don’t agree with his logic, but it’s pretty simple and straightforward.October 11, 2015 5:18 am at 5:18 am #1104987
We heard you, it’s just that you dodged the question by writing about shirts and pants, instead of discussing the issues of women dancing on Simchas Torah.October 11, 2015 5:31 am at 5:31 am #1104988
DY- for the record, I’m not talking about Gemara (that’s a separate discussion). I’m talking about Chumash and Navi.October 11, 2015 5:48 am at 5:48 am #1104989
Okay, that is a different point than I thought you meant. While learning Chumash and Navi is not strictly traditional, it is certainly mainstream. I’m not sure how much this changes anything. Men who don’t learn do participate, and always have, participated in hakafos and dancing. I don’t think the two are necessarily related.
Either way, women dancing on Simchas Torah remains out of the mainstream, and not traditional.
I think someone made the point earlier that the whole Bais Yaakov idea was a chiddush and originally encountered a lot of resistance. This is true, and the only reason it nevertheless succeeded was because the need was so pressing.
The point is, that it has always been the way to resist change because of the dangers involved, and that’s no different here. So we can debate whether the need is so pressing that we need to allow for another innovation. I disagree with you, though about this not being an innovation. I think that this permutation being new is enough to consider it a change which should only be adopted for a pressing need, and I don’t think that there is one.October 11, 2015 9:17 am at 9:17 am #1104990
I simply Asked the ladies .
They love chance to schmooze all together,and watch the kids dancing.October 11, 2015 10:57 am at 10:57 am #1104991
DY- I agree with you 100% on the resisting change. I just don’t see this as much of a change in tradition, more as a cause and effect. The cause is learning Torah and the effect is how to celebreate. Men who don’t learn do the hakafos because they have to, but they don’t really dance. The less they have to celebrate the less they actually celebrate. When women learned less the Torah, the effect was that they didn’t feel the need or desire to dance. When they learn more, they desire to celebrate more. It’s not a change in tradition as much as it a change in metzius and a new cause (more learning) leading to a new effect (dancing). Accepting that women learn more but not allowing them to celebrate that learning in traditional fashion is unnatural and can make women feel distanced from Simchas Torah.October 11, 2015 1:56 pm at 1:56 pm #1104992
I’m glad we agree on resisting change. I think we are still disagreeing on whether this is a change, and whether there is a big desire on the part of the women to dance. I haven’t observed that (which doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist elsewhere).October 11, 2015 2:41 pm at 2:41 pm #1104994
“When women learned less the Torah, the effect was that they didn’t feel the need or desire to dance. When they learn more, they desire to celebrate more.”
this comment is so sad that it hurts.October 11, 2015 4:13 pm at 4:13 pm #1104995
It’s one thing not allowing women to dance, but it’s quite another making them watch you. It’s worse than a concert!October 11, 2015 5:16 pm at 5:16 pm #1104996
Also, women who don’t support any men in learning Torah (like if they are single) probably aren’t “yotzei” by watching other men celebrate. It makes sense that they should have their own celebrations.
Yotzei what? There is no chiyuv to celebrate Simchas Torah by dancing. Dancing is just a minhag, and a relatively recent minhag at that. A beautiful minhag, to be sure, but still one that is only a couple of hundred years old. In the not too distant past, Simchos Torah was primarily celebrated by a festive meal, as recorded in the Shulchan Aruch.
Those women who do enjoy watching the men celebrate, and do feel part of the celebration, (much like what happened in the Bais HaMikdosh by the Simchos Bais HaShoaivah) will continue to celebrate Simchos Torah in the traditional way. And as DY pointed out, from the high attendance rate of women in Shul on Simchos Torah it appears that many, if not most, women do indeed fall into this category.
For those who have no interest in watching the men, there are many other ways for them to celebrate; by partaking in the celebratory meal, as mentioned in the Shulchan Aruch, or by attending a shiur as some here have mentioned. I don’t see any reason to suggest any drastic departures from tradition.October 11, 2015 5:41 pm at 5:41 pm #1104997
Peer pressure brings them all to shul.October 11, 2015 6:16 pm at 6:16 pm #1104998
…or lack of any other options but to stay home.
MW13: You see no reason to suggest drastic departures from tradition…of course, you are not a woman you wouldn’t be sensitive enough to think that maybe they could enjoy Simchas Torah in better way than just watching the dancing or eating. I have not heard of any shiur on Simchas Torah for women, and given how we celebrate weddings, it would seem women would enjoy dancing. But, no, as far as the men are concerned, no need to depart from tradition.October 11, 2015 6:21 pm at 6:21 pm #1104999
Peer pressure, or just want of an activity?
And why is it that some here find it so hard to believe that there are indeed women who enjoy watching the festivities?October 11, 2015 6:30 pm at 6:30 pm #1105000
Peer pressure brings all the men to shul too. Many would otherwise choose an “oneg shabbos” or yom tov by having a late 11:00 morning wake-up.October 11, 2015 6:44 pm at 6:44 pm #1105001
mw- I don’t have a hard time believing that there are indeed women who enjoy watching the festivities. I have a hard time believing that dancing is an inappropriate way to celebrate for those women who don’t enjoy watching the festivities.October 11, 2015 6:53 pm at 6:53 pm #1105002
No one is suggesting that no women enjoy the activities, just as there are probably men who don’t enjoy it as well. I don’t have first-hand experience, but friends of mine said they daven in a minyan where the hakafos are done 1-2-3 purposely because they don’t like shlepped out. My original point was and still is, maybe there are ways they can enjoy it better.October 11, 2015 8:33 pm at 8:33 pm #1105003
What if the women who don’t enjoy watching don’t enjoy dancing either but would really enjoy a comedy skit on Simchas Torah. Should the shul get a comedian they’d all enjoy?October 11, 2015 9:33 pm at 9:33 pm #1105004
here’s what seems so sad about this thread –
on simchas Torah we are a nation rejoicing in the Torah. Not in our own personal learning, or our husbands learning, or our son’s. We rejoice in the Torah and in another completion of the cycle and start of the new cycle in prayer that we will always be “in the midst of” and never “done with” the Torah.
For generations, this happiness was tangible. People were so happy that they would dance. They danced for the torah they learned, that their children learned, and they danced for the very existance and privelidge of the Torah. We danced from joy.
As a women, we are included in that joy just as we are included in Hashem’s klal. it is our nations joy, every member.
Now we have a generation of people who are not as connected to that joy. not nearly as connected to the Torah as we were back then. We are lacking that ability to connect to the Torah in such a personal state that it makes us feel happy enough to dance as they did in past generations.
That, I believe is all of us. some more so, some less so. So now we reach the CR discussion where some believe that it doesn’t matter if you feel joy or not, you have to dance because it’s tradition. And you have others who say that it’s more important to feel joy, so lets find some way to do that.
But I really believe you are both wrong. Our job is not to walk around in circles fulfilling a tradition. Our job is to dance with joy. To love the Torah and celebrate KLAL YISROEL’s completion and beginning. But some people’s adherence to traditions without admitting to, or accommodating the desperate need for our kids to feel joy is turning people away. Even the frummest yeshivos have that lacking, more are turning to alcohol to “help them be bisimcha”. It needs to be dealt with, boosted, worked on.
But the “other side” is overstepping in the other direction. They are losing that connection to tradition and trying to establish their own. I am not so sure that dancing (without a torah) is not traditional, and I have no comment in this post on the particulars. But just as we cannot whip people into performing traditions while lacking emotional connection to Hashem without repercussions (WE made them dry thru yeridas doros, they are not dry of themselves ch”v), we also cannot write our own ticket to closeness with Hashem. we need to follow the guidelines He has laid out for us in the Torah.
I know that nobody from the old school of thought wants to admit that things aren’t going well, but they aren’t. And if we don’t work harder to infuse joy, connection, emotion and love into the established holy, sacred, traditional motions we go thru, more and more young people will keep looking for their own ways. the baby is certainly being thrown out with the bathwater.
And before you start accusing me of sick liberalism and other hurtful things, try absorbing some of this because our own desperate attempt to believe all is well is directly responsible for the search in other directions. Just to be sure I don’t get misquoted and twisted (haha)
I DO NOT advocate changing a SINGLE ONE of our traditions. I advocate for understanding that the traditions alone are not infusing our new generation with a connection to Hashem, and in order to prevent them from looking elsewhere for meaning and depth, we need to admit it is an issue, and work on putting the emotion, love, chashivus and divaikus back into our observance of Hashem’s mitzvos, and try selling that to people instead of just answering their needs with a door slam. See these newfangled ways as the cry for spiritual and cognitive connection that many believe it really is.October 11, 2015 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm #1105005
Wow!! Excellent piece, Syag. Right on target.
I’m not following thhis whole thing through, I’d just like to add, that on Simchas Torah we rejoice and give thanks to HaShem for His Torah, the way of life it presents, our uniqueness. In which women most definitely DO take a most active role.October 11, 2015 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm #1105006
many poskim (even modern ones) forbid or question women dancing with sifrei torah. While I haven’t (yet) seen any poskim argue against women dancing *without* sifrei torah, I also don’t see a point to that dancing. The whole ikar of the minhag of dancing on simchas torah is that you are encircling the bimah *with* sifrei torah, the object of our joy. this is clear from the rema. so if women (or men) decided to dance w/out sifrei torah, this is not a fulfillment of the minhag rishonim. it’s nice and spiritual, but not a minhag. It reminds me of what Sam2 wrote somewhere how women were walking around their side of the mechitzah with 4 minim, when the whole minhag is to encircle the bimah. So it isn’t assur, but I raise an eyebrow at it, due to the extreme kedusha with which halacha regards the customs of a shul.
Agav, women who do not want to watch the men dance should be accommodated by having a shiur given during hakafos for them to attend.October 11, 2015 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm #1105007
many poskim (even modern ones) forbid or question women dancing with sifrei torah.
Who, and on what basis other than tampering with minhagim?October 12, 2015 1:44 am at 1:44 am #1105009
“you still haven’t given a reason why women can’t dance on Simchas Torah”
There really isn’t one at least not a good one.
“since it’s not traditional, it’s not the way.”
Simchat Torah itself is a post-Chazal phenomenon that violates so many normative traditions that you really can’t use “tradition” regarding Simchat Torah at all.
“I DO NOT advocate changing a SINGLE ONE of our traditions. “
We have changed lots of traditions — just in the past century. In no community did most men learn full time a century ago; today it is very common. In most communities (not in Germany or America) women were actively denied Torah education; Baruch HaShem that tradition changed. In the 1780s American Jews stopped saying a prayer for the King of Great Britain and started saying a prayer for the United States Government. Then in 1948 we started praying for the State of Israel. Should we still be saying prayers for a foreign monarch and refuse to say a prayer for the State of Israel? I could go on and on, but you get the point. Traditions can and do change. Baruch HaShem.October 12, 2015 2:55 am at 2:55 am #1105010
DY- the basis is more or less the reason you stated. The people, in the article I read, are Rav Soloveitchik (quoted by rav meiselman and r. lamm), the lubavitcher rebbe, and dati leumi rabbis yaakov ariel and dov lior. mistama more “charedi” poskim didn’t address the issue cause it never came up as a shailah.
agav, an interesting article on the topic:
Link removedOctober 12, 2015 3:53 am at 3:53 am #1105012
Zogtbesser- Women dancing without the Torah is not a fulfillment of the minhag Rishonim, but neither is their watching the men dance. They don’t have a minhag Rishonim to keep. So why should it make a difference if they watch men dance or dance themselves?October 12, 2015 4:16 am at 4:16 am #1105013
Minhagim do get changed. I have come across a few places in Mishnah Berurah where the Shulchan Aruch says one thing but the Rama says we do differently. There is great deference to custom, but it seems they can change when the powers that be feel it’s appropriate. Interestingly, when it comes to Purim, for example, girls’ schools have their own chagigas and no one would question that, but somehow when it comes to Simchas Torah, any suggestion for a separate celebration is met with resistance because it’s something that hasn’t been done before. Dancing is an expression of joy, and if women want to express their joy for the Torah, why should they be denied that opportunity and told to settle for watching the men do it?October 12, 2015 4:20 am at 4:20 am #1105014
For the most part, I agree with your well-written piece. However, I take issue wih one line:
I know that nobody from the old school of thought wants to admit that things aren’t going well, but they aren’t.
I think that today, things are going very well. We are experiencing one of the greatest renaissances of Torah-observant Jewry in our history. A few generations ago, people thought (and not without reason) that all was lost. And yet here we are today, still as vibrant and committed as ever.
Sure, there are issues that we as a community face. But on the while, things are headed up, not down.
zogt_besser, the mods will not allow most links through. But if you tell us the name and and author of the article, we’ll probably be able to find it ourselves.October 12, 2015 4:29 am at 4:29 am #1105015
You only took issue with that? I took bigger issue with the notion that anyone here doesn’t think it’s important to feel joy.October 12, 2015 4:51 am at 4:51 am #1105016
Nah, I do agree that some people are missing the forest for the trees. I don’t believe its quite the issue that syag thinks it is, but I do think it exists.October 12, 2015 5:16 am at 5:16 am #1105017
Question: in my machzor “techina” for licht bentchen of Shmini Atzeres it says (beZchus) women coming to Shul to kiss the Sefer Torah.
Anybody’s Shul still has women do that (at the one’s I frequent I’ve never seen it)? And if a Shul does give women a chance to kiss the Torah, I’d assume having separate dancing without a Torah would be a step down and away from the Minhag. — which everyone here seems to agree that there is none regarding women and Simchas Torah regarding dancing etc.October 12, 2015 6:04 am at 6:04 am #1105018
Ok. Im a Woman here is my response: I enjoy coming to Shul Simchas Torah with my children because its a forum that allows each of us in our own way to express our excitement with the Torah, My husband along with my sons sing and dance my teenage daughter gets dressed up in her nicest yomtov clothes and does what ever it is that frum teenage girls do to be celebratory. As I have two left feet and less than a sense of rhythm Im perfectly happy in the observer role.
editedOctober 12, 2015 5:04 pm at 5:04 pm #1105019
This whole business of not changing what we did Europe is such a fallacy it’s sad that there are some who believe in it.
In Europe many women did not cover her hair.
In Europe very few if any boys learned in Kollel.
In Europe many women did not learn any Chumash.( only tzena renna)
In Europe Bar mitzvah boys did not lain their Parsha.
In Europe a bas mitzvah girl did not even have a party with her family.
In Europe no one ate dips.
In Europe the Rebbe hit any kid in cheder who didn’t have the place when he was learning.
We live in America, technology has changed everything and if we want to have normal healthy kids we need to daven to hashem that he gives us the brains to figure out how to bring up kids in America.
And if want our girls to stay healthy we should offer them alternative programs in their school during Hakafos.October 12, 2015 5:29 pm at 5:29 pm #1105020
YITZCHOK2, a quick search of this thread reveals that the word “Europe” has been used exactly one time (aside from the eight times it appears in your comment).
Nobody here has advocated trying to recreate Europe. Relax.October 12, 2015 6:20 pm at 6:20 pm #1105021
In Europe many women did not cover her hair.
In Europe very few if any boys learned in Kollel.
Those two don’t count, the first because even if it’s true, it’s against halacha, and the second because the ability to do so changed, and had it been this way in Europe they would have done so, too.
In Europe many women did not learn any Chumash.( only tzena renna)
With the start of the Bais Ya’akov they learned Chumash as well.
In Europe no one ate dips.
Was that meant as a joke?October 12, 2015 7:05 pm at 7:05 pm #1105022
was meant to show the stupidity of just saying we need to always do like we did in Europe. ( And I have heard people say that regarding what foods we can eat on Shabbos)October 12, 2015 7:24 pm at 7:24 pm #1105023
reading some of these posts makes it feel like its still Simchas Torah!!! thanksOctober 12, 2015 8:55 pm at 8:55 pm #1105024
Re: In Europe no one ate dips.
I’ve been thinking about that.
And I’d like to reach out to the erudite members of the CR to ask:
Does galla qualify as a dip?
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