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I Am Going to Keep Dancing (and Like This)

I have a confession to make. I cannot sit still. (Are you surprised?) I marvel at those who can sit in a chair for hours while reading a book. I, on the other hand, shift and fidget. After fifteen minutes I am propelled to get up and walk around.

Movement is part of what defines me. It’s why I love cycling, running and swimming. It is why I love dancing. It does not matter that I am not the best dancer in the room or that I never even took a dance class.

I love dancing. And I love being on the move.

Dancing is what makes a simcha feel like a simcha. When we dance at a party (or on the bima!) it is as if our entire being is rejoicing.

Movement helps to exile darkness.

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov agrees. He writes: “Get into the habit of dancing. It will displace depression and dispel hardship.” When you feel depressed—and Rebbe Nachman was given to fits of sadness and despair—get up and go for a walk or even start tapping your feet. Get moving. And leave those dark thoughts behind.

Movement not only propels us forward but moves us to give thanks. Instilling a sense of gratitude is the essence of prayer.

And there is nothing quite like the praying and singing and dancing of Simhat Torah. On this day we celebrate the opportunity to read, and study, the Torah again. We rejoice that we can move to the rhythms of the Torah.

Rebbe Nachman offers this prayer:
Dear God,
if only my heart would be
straight with You all the time,
I would be filled with joy.
And that joy would spread all the way
down to my feet,
and uplift them in dance.
Please, never let my feet falter,
release them from their heavy bonds,
and give me the strength
to dance, dance, dance.
And I would add, may we find the strength to dance. May we let go of the worries of how we might look or even how silly our dance steps might appear. Just dance.

Or as David Byrne sings (and not in the early 1980’s but more recently in “American Utopia”):
We dance like this
Because it feels so damn good
If we could dance better
Well you know that we would
May our feet continue to move. Let our steps lead us to happiness. Let our dancing fill our hearts with gratitude and joy.