Simchat Torah: Love at First Sight

On Simchat Torah, Mary Blye Howe celebrates what Torah means to her and the Jewish community.


10/21/2008 10:44:19 PM

I love the way you expressed yourself so very well. I can identify with you and your religious journey. I myself being brought up in an Orthodox Catholic faith. I still felt something was missing. I felt that I was getting only half of the story. They only were teaching from New Testement and not from the Torah. To make a long story short I tried going to Non0Denominational Christian churches, but alas something was still missing in my thirst to understand G-D`s inspired word. I take the word of G-D as it is wriitten. Well I finally feel whole spiritually,mind and body. I am attending a Messianic Synagogue in Dallas and love it!


10/26/2005 01:38:59 PM

Nice article. If you take the time and effort to understand sacrificial worship you can emotionally experience its meaning as well as understand religious history. The traditional synagogue, the holidays and service are patterned on the Temple service. The Temple service is connected to the agricultural cycles, the cycles of the moon and sun. It connects the worshiper with the natural rhythms that modern culture has isolated us from. Judaism made the transformation form many arbitrary deities to one unified creator and a purposeful and unified creation. Instead of appeasing arbitrary gods with blood (the seat of the soul or life) sacrifices, Judaism made the transformation to pleasing God by dedicating our life to service to a just God and our fellow man. The ancient forms were maintained but their meaning is quite different in Torah. Tracing the development of the oral law will take you on a journey through history and connect our present to our past.


10/25/2005 06:55:08 PM

"Torah, to me, is much like the US Constitution..." Well put.


10/25/2005 11:00:47 AM

This article is very well written, and it conveys the sense of joy and awe that all practicing Jews, regardless of affiliation, feel when engaged with Torah. Truly, as we pray when we return the Torah to the ark, "She is a tree of life." For Jews, the Torah is our life whether we recognize it or not. Our civilization was built with Torah as its spine... Torah read in one way or another. In every generation we are responsible for engaging the text, wrestling with it, and drawing from it the inspiration and guidance to live well. Whether we choose to rely on old understandings, forge new ones, or ignore the process all together and show up once or twice a year for holidays, Torah is at the center of our people and our identity.


10/24/2005 10:24:36 AM

The author is absolutely right when she speaks to the Torah being alive and meant to be interpreted, discussed, argued about, and revered. Re-reading it; finding new ways to learn from it; living it, discussing it; arguing about it - these are all ways we make it a part of us, which is what I believe that G-d wants from us.


10/24/2005 08:09:01 AM

What a beautiful piece of writing - I think Ms. Howe goes all "around writing this" so let me take a risk: I think it is the "fundamental roots" rather then the Torah study that is behind the fidgeting and discomfort. The author shows clear signs that many different people interpret the Torah on many different levels, many different ways, during many different centuries -- why else would large volumes of commentary be available? We are allowed, during Torah readings and discussions to think, even say out loud, "Wait a minute..." as we grabble with simple metaphor (a day not meant as 24 hours) or "parting of the red sea" (possibility of an actual natural event that, not within the knowledge base of the people of the time, got attributed to G_d. The Torah, to me, is much like the US Constitution in that is ‘lives and breaths’ within us, is meant to preserve human rights and dignity and as such, is either amended or re-interpreted as the times and challenges