In case anyone was wondering, the autumnal Jewish holidays are really, truly, ruly (as we say around here) over. Weekends may now recommence to exist.
Simchat Torah finishes the holiday season with a bang, celebrating the finishing of the year's cycle of torah reading, and starting the cycle again - all in one night and day of dancing, singing, and dangerously delighted flag waving by small people hopped up on sugar. Excellent.
Where we live, there are a couple of options for simchat torah, one is the Hillel at the illustrious local university, known to us as the Shul that Shushes. Not entirely comfortable coexisting with little people (or, as magid calls them, 'smalls'), the Shul that Shushes does. The other option (which we go to) is the Shteble that Thinks It Can. It's an established synagogue, with a thriving egalitarian service and a bumbling along, ten families short of solid, Orthodox service. We go to the Shteble that Thinks It Can because they don't shush kids (with one notable exception), and they involve the kids wherever possible.
Any guesses where we were on Simchat Torah night? Actually, I was home with the babes, who needs some solid focus on sleep training to undo the damage done by the rise of the corn allergy. (sleep, scratch, wake, wail. sleep, scratch, wake, wail. Sigh.) But the Eldest and the man went, to my envy, and stayed. And danced. And sang. And was given a flag, which he came home clutching, tried to put on his pajamas while clutching, made a reasonable argument for going to bed while clutching...
There are few opportunities to watch Jews simply, delightedly celebrating being Jewish. A good Orthodox wedding is a great place for it - there's tons to happy, silly dancing with a lot of jumping around. Simchat Torah is another instance. In this case, the local police closed off the street, banned parking, and the dancers spilled out into the street and filled it with the joy of being us.
The joy of being different, in a society that occasionally remembers that we celebrate that sort of thing. The joy of being an ancient people, still here, still building on our impossibly complex system of laws and faith.
And in the middle of all that, the delighted joy of a small boy who will always be different, always be hedged about by rules and regulations...
...but who can certainly, delightedly dance.
Our thanks to everyone who made this last holiday wonderful - the MIL and FIL, who spent many late nights figuring out how to feed us, and did (splendidly!), magid, who fed us beyond our deserts even as we wandered exhaustedly in and out of the diningroom, the families who came and potlucked with us, oh so carefully...and everyone who danced.