Saturday, October 06, 2007
What Happens on Simchas Torah STAYS in Simchas Torah!

(Unless, of course, you blog about it.)

Each year, the Torah is completed and started anew - Simchas Torah celebrates that. The festival includes dancing, flag-waving, and copious drinking by the menfolk. In Chabad circles, there's a Simchas Torah tradition to "mach a kula." You haven't seen anything in life until you see a drunk chossid do a somersault. On second thought...

This year, my husband had the dubious honor of being in charge of the liquor distribution. On Thursday night and Friday afternoon, Yaakov "tended bar" for stretches of time. His rules were simple: If you looked too drunk, no more mashke for you. If you already made 4 l'chaims, no more mashke for you. If you looked too young, no mashke - period.

Some youngsters raided their parents' liquor cabinets, anyway. One 17 year old was laying on a table in the shul's sukkah, puking over the side. Another drunk reveler, turned away by Yaakov, convinced the shul's goy to get more mashke for him. When he reappeared with some Johnnie Walker, he told Yaakov, "See! I don't need you!" Rav Plony told him not to come back the next day.

Some chassidim got into shoving matches, which startled me when I heard. "The whole point of drinking on Simchas Torah is to loosen up and have a good time," I insisted. "Do you think the Rebbe would be proud of that?" Yaakov was unfazed. "You don't understand men," he said. "Sure, they were going at it a little, but 10 minutes later they were dancing together..."

Me, I stayed home. The women's section is too small, and I can't keep up with my brood in shul, anyway. Besides, Simchas Torah isn't always a great environment for kids. On Friday afternoon, a friend and her kids came for a late yom tov meal. Both our husbands were still in shul, and we didn't miss them.

Thus, another three-day shabbos/yom tov has officially ended (I hope the hangovers have, too).


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