Succos is the climax of the most festival-filled month in the year, and Shemini Atzeres/Simchas Torah is the climax of Succos. The introspection and spiritual awakening of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and the Ten Days of Repentance prepare us for Succos, the "time of our gladness." And then, after their seven days of joy, the Jewish people burst forth in the ecstasy of Simchas Torah. How natural. As Sfas Emes commets, when a Jew exults, he takes his happiness and dedicates it to a higher purpose. So when the festival season has elevated the Jewish people to hights of gladness, the nation celebrates with the greatest gift human beings have ever received, the Torah! Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah combine the intensity of Geshem (the Prayer for Rain) and Yizkor (the Memorial Prayer), with the exultation of the Hakafos, the joyous circuits with the Torah Scrolls. As arms embrace the Torah, lips kiss it, voices sing of it, and feet defy gravity to rejoice with it, the Jew experiences the feeling that "We are fortunate, how good is our portion, how pleasant is our lot, and beautiful our heritage!" This book captures the mood, the traditions, the laws, the significance, the history, the beauty of Shemini Atzeres/Simchas Torah. In the tradition of the other volumes in the ArtScroll Holiday Series, it distills the beauty of the festival and enables the reader to learn and enjoy, to bring himself into the atmosphere of the day and come away enriched and exhilarated. Written by Rabbi Moshe Liber, author of ArtScroll's highly-regarded The Pirkei Avos Treasury, this work is a worthy addition to the Holiday Series. Engagingly written, culled from a very broad range of Torah masterpieces, and leavened by the author's own lively and profound spirit, it will enrich the observance of the festival for every reader, and do it in a very enjoyable way.
by Rabbi Nosson Scherman/ Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz