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The Blade Runner

Friday, 5 October, 2012 - 1:00 pm

Oscar Pistorius of South Africa made history this summer when he became the first double leg amputee to participate in the Olympics. He earned the nickname the Blade Runner, attributed to his Flex-Foot Cheetah carbon fiber transtibial prostheses that act as his feet.

Though he did not win any medals as a sprinter at the London games, he did break the glass ceiling when he participated in the men’s 400-meter race.

Some debate has ensued about the advantage or disadvantage of prosthetic legs. But he did prove to the world that prosthetic limbs can adequately function similar to human limbs – even in the fierce world of sports competition.

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On Tuesday we will read the final portion of the Torah, V’Zot Habracha – and begin the annual cycle of Torah reading anew. However, the great celebration of Simchat Torah will occur the night before. On Monday night, before reading the final words of the Torah, we will dance Hakafot.

Isn’t that jumping the gun? Why do we revel at a milestone not yet accomplished? Should we not wait until after we have succeeded in concluding the Torah and rewound it to the opening words of Bereishit before pulling out the champagne?

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The Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Y. Schneersohn, commented that on Simchat Torah, the Torah itself wants to dance; however, since a Torah scroll has no feet, we Jews must function as its feet and carry it around the bima in the synagogue.

At the end of the day (or night), our feet become the Torah’s prosthetic feet. The Torah depends on us to rejoice and celebrate.

The deeper meaning in this profound statement is that Simchat Torah (literally, the Joy of the Torah), is not only a festivity marking our joy on completing the Torah. The Torah itself shares this joy as well. It is elated that it has become our lot.

It just needs us to serve as its feet.

***

Although our accomplishment is Torah study, our action is dancing – not reviewing the laws of the Torah. For in this regard – celebrating our inheritance – we are all equal. No one can claim to be a better leg to the Torah than another. It is equally mine and yours. It is shared just the same by the scholar and the ignoramus.

In this sense, completing the Torah is a fait accompli. So long as we can serve as the Torah’s prosthetics there is reason to celebrate – even, and especially, the night before.

So, get on your dancing shoes – or blades. The Torah is waiting for you!

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