Torah: Her Personality

by Rabbi Israel Rubin

Obviously, the Torah is not your average personality to be written about in a weekly publication. But as the holiday of Simchat Torah approaches, it is a good time to introduce her in all of her living glory. Unfortunately, she remains a closed book to many who think of her as an old scroll all wrapped up in herself. To those who know her, however, she is very personable and down to earth. She prefers herself to be understood in human terms. To use her own words: "Torah speaks in the language of man."

Torah's universal appeal and involvement is enhanced by her extensive traveling experience. Since her debut at Sinai, she has been to Israel repeatedly, has spent some time in Iraq (Babylonia) and Iran (Persia), has visited the Mid-dle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, the Americas, and even down under in Australia. She has brought courage, education, strength and solace to oppressed Jews even under the most trying conditions.

Despite her advanced years, she is full of life and vigor and remains as fresh and new as when she started out. Her arms may feel thin and spindly, but she can stand on her own two feet, thank Gā€‘d. Times change, fads come and go, but with Torah its the same classic story, year after year. Never boring, she always comes up with an interesting angle, a refreshing thought, and a new inspiration that is relevant and actual.

Primarily a teacher, her wisdom is unmistakably written all over her. She is well versed in Jewish law and history to the beginning of time.

Her script is meticulous, and some of her letters are custom designed with adorable crowns on top. Every letter is full of meaning. She is versatile and has a wide range of interest levels from Basic Literal to Exegeses, to Homiletics to Mysticism. But despite her infinite wisdom and depth, she relates well to all-even the beginner. She encourages people to learn and observe the mitzvot for their own good and a better life. "Choose life," she says.

She is estimated to be very wealthy, and although there is no exact figure, her worth is appraised to exceed rubies and precious stones. Even the world's rich, famous and powerful make special time for her.

Though her home is comfortable, with luxurious embroidered curtains and elaborately carved doors, she doesn't like to stay closeted inside. She loves to get out, at the very least on Mondays and Thursdays, as well as on Shabbat and holidays.

She doesn't like it when people think of her only on special occasions, though she does revel in the annual dance in her honor on Simchat Torah. "The special ceremonies are nice," she notes, "but don't forget me as you go about your daily lives."

And oh, how she loves children. They are her real pride and joy. The children keep her young and vibrant. She considers them the sole guarantee of Jewish continuity and survival. So, on Simchat Torah she likes to see the children dance with flags and toy Torahs; she wants the experience to be positive and fun.