Solely In Black and White: Question: Simchas Torah from a Woman’s Perspective?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Question: Simchas Torah from a Woman’s Perspective?

Shalem Lev Helping Soferet Fix Sefer Torah I have been wondering about this for a while and being that there are a lot of females reading this, maybe you can shed some light on this topic for me. Basically, what do women do in shul all Simchas Toah? Okay, so I understand situations like bar mitzvahs where mothers dance and are misameach separately amongst themselves, but on Simchas Torah, at least in the shuls I frequent, the women don’t dance! While it may be the heartfelt moments or miracles that keep them there, but that doesn’t seem like very compelling reason to justify sitting in a (in some cases stuffy and perspiration scented) room for an inordinately long amount of time just watching others. I don't think its the alcohol, because that is reserved for bochurim who claim they need it to dance... ;-) So maybe I am naive or just missing something, but what is the allure of watching men dance for hours on end?


  1. My chosson asked me the same question. I think that, for me at least, there are two aspects.

    One is social. I'm a working girl. I don't have the time to get together with my friends and neighbors on a regular basis. Simchas Torah is a time when we all come together and can shmuz without feeling guilty that we should be doing other things.

    Second, and I think more important, is the religious aspect. Women today sacrifice a lot for their husbands to learn. We work, scrimp and save, and somehow find time to cook, clean, and raise our children, while allowing our husbands to learn. Simchas Torah is the one day a year that we can see that our sacrifice is being appreciated. We can see the simcha on the faces of our men and know that we're doing the right thing. We see their joy in doing the Retzon Hashem, and are empowered to do the same.

    Does that make any sense?

  2. Simchas Torah is beautiful- it's beautiful to see the men and children's uplifting to watch. So, we do some watching...and we do a LOT of talking. Additionally....some women arrive late and/or leave early because of obligations to kids, food prep. etc. So, it really isn't hours on end.
    (And if the males contribute too much perspiration-scent....we go outside for some fresh air!) ;-)

  3. This was a revelation to me, but over the past few years I've heard from too-many-to-be-discounted females who hate Simchas Torah and Purim. So not everybody is being b'simcha on the other side of the curtain.

    As far as the answer to your question, the maidelech above gave nice answers.

    p.s. I was asked the same question by a guy about simchas beis hashoeivahs.

  4. There are shuls where women dance- and those are the best, and usually I try to go somewhere where I know women will be dancing. I have often wondered how women can just sit and watch men dance, but in some shuls it is actually quite enjoyable (and under the right circumstances even beautiful) to watch guys getting so excited about the Torah, and expressing their deep happiness that we have the Torah.

    Also, why do people watch TV? Why not live life instead of watching it? The answer is that it is entertaining. The same is true here.

  5. My wife and I do not really enjoy Simchas Torah where we live. We live in the same town as both of our sets of parents and therefore don't have holidays that we need to travel for so we made a pact to go to New Haven every year for that particular holiday because that has been the most fun for both of us and my wife is from there.

  6. Zero. There is no allure at all. However, there is potato kugel, and that has allure.

    The only reason anyone goes is because they're convinced it would not be in the spirit of the holiday to sleep late and stay home. And also FOMA. And because it's the only time of year you can yak in shul with impunity.

    This Simchas Torah I stayed home and studied the parsha and Mesilas Yesharim instead. I don't think I missed anything.

  7. As MusingMaidel said, part of it is the social aspect. But then again, if there were people I really wanted to socialize with, I could do so as easily on any other day. I also wrote on my blog about this, because I feel that women aren't given enough of a chance to participate in Simchat Torah. I would really love to find a shul where the women can also dance and it's done in a way that is in accordance with halacha and the spirit of the chag.

  8. i hate it, actually...
    watching sweating men dance badly is not fun...
    and neither is watching sweating men throwing my child in the air or hoisting her up on their sweaty shoulders...
    the truth is that exploring a woman's feelings towards simchas torah (and purim and shavuos) is less fun than watching sweaty men dance...


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