Some people wonder, what is the difference between Simchat Torah and Shavuot? On Simchat Torah, we celebrate the TORAH, and on Shavuot we celebrate the TORAH! Well, the difference can be explained with a story. There once was a king and a queen, who wanted to have a baby, but the could not. Finally they went to a sorcerer. The sorcerer said,
As I stir this potion in water,
And these incantations say,
you will have a beautiful daughter,
nine months from this very day.
BUT, I must warn you,
listen carefully and look in my eye,
NO ONE shall see her until her wedding day
for if they do, SHE WILL DIE.
The king and the queen said, we want a child so much, we will do anything! We agree to your conditions. And so they had a beautiful daughter, and they moved to a remote island where no people lived to raise her, where no one would see her. Finally she came of age, and it was time for her to get married. So they sent word to all the princes of the world, but all of the princes replied, “If we cannot even SEE her before the wedding, we will not marry her.”
Except one prince. He said to the king and queen, if she is half as wise as you are, I would be lucky to have her as my partner.
And so a grand feast was set up. A band played the music, the wedding began. The bride came to the huppah, and indeed she was beautiful, a knock out. The vows were said, and everyone was thrilled…
Except the prince! He suddenly realized that he didn’t even know this woman.
Well, the wedding ended, and over the course of the next few months, the prince did indeed fall head over heals in love with the princess, and the princess fell head over heals in love with the prince. And a year later he decided to throw another party. A party in which they could celebrate their true love.
On Shavuot we celebrate receiving the Torah, but we do not know her yet. We do not know if we love her yet.
On Simchat Torah, we celebrate our love. Our Great Love.