by Rabbi Israel RubinTorahGuyNew1


A most impressive moment of the Synagogue service is when the Holy Ark is opened, the majestic Scrolls appear in full glory, and the Torah is proudly paraded down the aisle to the bima podium. But wha t, pray tell, happens after the doors close and the scrolls are locked into seclusion? Is the Torah just a closed book wrapped up in itself? Actually, the Torah is highly personable and relates well with people. It speaks, so to speak, in the language of man, what philosophers refer to as 'anthropomorphism.'

Universal and well traveled, Torah has been around the world, far beyond its birthplace at Mount Sinai and the Land of Israel. It has visited Iraq-Babylon and Iran-Persia where it branched out into Talmud and Kabbalah, lived through expulsions and oppressions in the Middle East, Africa and Europe, and has been up and down the Americas. Is she old? Very. But archaic? Never! Despite her advanced years, Torah is full of life and vigor; she's really on a roll. "A Tree of Life to those who grasp her" (Proverbs), her arms seem thin and spindly, but she maintains a good grip, and stands on her own feet.

Times will change, trends and fads come and go, but Torah values and traditions remain constant. It's always the same story with her, year after year. The message is ancient, but she has different angles, always with a new twist, a refreshing thought. "Choose life," she says, giving people guidance and direction, good ethics and morals.

A highly inspiring teacher, her wisdom is written all over her. Well versed, she knows history way back to the beginning, - she served as the world's original blueprint. Blessed with a beautiful script and crowned with meticulous handwriting, she doesn't get into punctuation, other than a point here and there. Yet each letter is full of meaning, from basic literal explanation, to deeper exegesis, to homiletics and mysticism.

Despite her vast knowledge, Torah relates well even with the smallest child or beginner. She maintains a vast letter correspondence with hundreds of thousands of people - each letter and person is crucial - any one missing leaves her incomplete.

And how she loves children! They just adore her, and are her real pride and joy. Without the children, she could die of old age. Even more than the patriarchs, sages and prophets, the young children guarantee her longevity. Torah loves to see the children, especially when reading the Ten Commandments on Shavuoth. She thrives on their hugs and kisses, and so do the children!

Her worth exceeds rubies and precious stones. Beautifully furnished and carpeted, her exquisite place features luxurious embroidered curtains and elaborately carved doors. She keeps her front light on all the time, an eternal beacon shining out to the world. Torah doesn't like to stay closeted inside her inner sanctum. She likes to get out, but that depends on mazal.

During the week, she goes out for about 20 minutes in the morning on Mondays and Thursdays, and up to an hour on the Sabbath and holidays.

Wearing an elegant full-length dress, she is decked out in royal purple, dignified blue or red soft velvet nicely embellished with brilliant sequins and gold tassels, preferring pure white on the High Holidays. Her silver finery includes a large engraved brooch and a handy poignant silver necklace.

Torah draws much joy and nachas from a Bar Mitzvah boy proudly reciting his first maftir, a baby girl getting her Jewish name, or a bridegroom rising to his aliya before the wedding. She also has her reflective moments, such as Yizkor remembering the departed.

Torah is the life of the party as the congregation turns out for her annual Simchat Torah dance. But she dislikes being remembered only on special occasions. Grandiose ceremonies are nice, but she feels lonely and forsaken when people focus only on their business and forget about her.

Married to Israel for many years, she is celebrating her wedding anniversary this coming Shavuoth, which also happens to be her birthday. It was a wedding to remember!

Unfortunately, the marriage has had its ups and downs, and, truth be told, her husband should have been more faithful. But hopefully, things are getting better, and the couple looks forward to their third home in Jerusalem, very soon, G‑d willing.