Anyway, according to the wonderful book, Netivot Shalom, these final days of Simchat Torah & Shemini Atzeret comprise the real holiday of love: the Love of the Creator of the Universe for the Jewish people.
(Note: Everything in this post is taken from Netivot Shalom: Simchat Torah, Ma'amar 5, Ne'ilat HaChag.)
Netivot Shalom stresses that Hashem's Love always exists, but during this final autumn chag, Hashem's Love is revealed at its zenith.
This idea taken from the verse in Shir HaShirim, "the King brought me into His Chamber," describes the intimacy we have with Hashem during Sukkot, an intimacy that culminates in these final days.
Shemini Atzeret (a day unto itself outside of Eretz Yisrael, but the same day as Simchat Torah within Eretz Yisrael) is the day that "locks" up these autumn chagim.
We've made our final plea for rain and other blessings, we've received our final kvittel, the final seal on the upcoming year.
But why all the love & celebration?
Wouldn't it be better to end on the note of teshuvah?
Why, Netivot Shalom asks, do we end this time with such joy & love, rather than the teshuvah & atonement of Yom Kippur?
Being that the rest of the year, many instances of material & spiritual darkness pass over a Jew, and the strengthening of many gloomy inclinations — the metaphorical aspect of the long nights of Tevet [the winteriest month-MR], which are so dark — therefore, The Holy One Blessed Be He gave a last day to lock up the Regalim (Pilgrimage Holidays), this holy chag Simchat Torah, which is an intimate time between Hashem and the Jewish people and within it is revealed the Ultimate Love of Hashem for the Jewish people.
This is so that a Jew can go out of these holy days with a clear feeling of the Love of the Blessed One, which is eternal in every situation — and this he should take with him for the rest of the year.
While winter literally presents us with our darkest & gloomiest physical days, the above hints at the metaphorical interpretation of the spiritually dark & gloomy days that can occur any time throughout the continuing year.
Netivot Shalom adds:
It happens that even the sins & flaws cause "separating curtains" to appear and obstruct so that one cannot see the Love.
Yet because one believes that The Holy One Blessed Be He is always close to him, even when one doesn't feel it and one doesn't see it, then one believes it is now only "hiding."
When we can't see or feel Hashem, the love & joy of these final days remind us that Hashem hasn't rejected or abandoned us; He is merely "hidden."
Here's the rest:
Behold, this is the power that illuminates for a Jew throughout all the times of darkness of the year.
And a Jew needs to take this joy with him, that the engraving of Simchat Torah will remain within him all year long, enabling him to always feel HaKadosh Baruch Hu with him throughout all the situations of the material reality and the spiritual reality.
Hold on TIGHT!
Yet there is a much deeper meaning too.
Netivot Shalom stresses that this time is a most auspicious time to purify one's heart & eyes.
This is a time to focus on shemirat einayim and shemirat halev.
The eyes notice the attractions of the world while the heart feels and ponders them.
This combination leads to sin.
But if we purify our eyes & hearts (especially by asking Hashem to help us with this now), then we save ourselves.
The trait of holiness is the most precious to Hashem.
When a Jew makes himself or herself holy, this grants the Jew special protection and blessings in the face of every kind & any kind of threat.
So Netivot Shalom encourages us to "bind the chag with strong cords, in all the opaque and worldly matters."
There is so much spiritual illumination throughout Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Simchat Torah & Shemini Atzeret.
Yet when it's all over, many people return to what they were before.
How can we prevent this?
"issru chag ba'avotim — bind the chag with strong cords!"
DON'T stay the same as you were before — take the spiritual illumination with you!
The Netivot Shalom quotes an Admor who said:
Thankful am I before You, O Lord My God and God of my Forefathers, for all the loving-kindness you have performed for me during these holy days that have passed. But it is the nature of a human that the day after the Yom Tov, he completely forgets what was.
Where was he the night before? And what was the movement of his thoughts? What were the requests of his heart at the moment he was dancing with the Torah: "Achat shaalti m'eit Hashem otah avakesh shivti b'veit Hashem kol yamei chayai — One thing I asked from Hashem, this I shall ask: that I shall dwell in the House of Hashem all the days of my life" [Tehillim 27:4].
About this, it's stated: "issru chag ba'avotim" — to bind the chag with strong cords so that it won't slip from between his hands, and so that it will remain engraved from the Yom Tov for all the year.
There can be ups and downs throughout this day (or especially two days).
But whatever joy and closeness to Hashem we can manage, we need to hold onto it as tight as we can because this is what sustains us throughout the rest of the year.