By Rabbi Israel Rubin

On and on we dance at the Hakafot, round and round with the Torah scrolls on simchat torah —the most joyous day of the year.

But doesn't going around in circles get us nowhere? Aren't we chasing our tail? How can the Hakafot circles lead us in a straight path for the rest of the year?

A straight answer for Hakafot may fit like a square peg in a round hole. So let's round up several novel ideas on circular reasoning, even if they are peripheral, roundabout or revolutionary.

Let's honor them each with one Hakafa turn on a rotation basis:

1. Hakafot represent to the Kabbalist the supernal spheres of Iggulim and Makifim, transcending the confines of linear formations.

2. To the reader, it demonstrates the never-ending Torah cycle. Upon completion, we start right over again from the beginning.

3. To the Scholar, the circle represents the endless wisdom of the Torah's infinite depth. "Turn within it, and turn within it again, for all is within it" (Ethics of our Fathers 5).

4. Geometrically, we're not just spinning our wheels in the same place. Hakafot is an upward spiral that rises higher and higher.

5. The physicist sees the Torah's ripple effect reaching out to its surroundings in all directions in ever expanding circles.

6. Socially, the circle is a great equalizer. No one is in front of the line or in back of the line—None higher or lower—as we all lovingly form rings and hold hands together around the Torah.

7. "Scientifically", Hakafot gives us a charge-like the flow of electrical energy which needs a circuit. The winding up of spring coils releases kinetic energy, so do hakafot help us get a jump at the coming year ahead.

"Ad Kan!!"cries the Synagogue Gabbai after the 7th Hakafah, trying to stop the perpetual motion. But the celebrants continue to come full circle, on and

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