This Shabbat we return to the beginning of the Torah, to read our tradition’s version of how the world began. Quoting from Chumash Etz Hayim, in its introduction to the Book of Genesis, B’reishit:
“Genesis is the book about origins: the origin of the world of humankind, of the people of Israel, and of the unique relationship of God with that people. In its entirety, the book claims to cover a time span of 2,309 years…”
The beauty and power of B’reshit is that it is not a scientific scholarly treatise on the beginnings of the universe. Rather it is a religious and spiritual book, introducing us to the God of the Universe and God’s love for us and for morality. Reading the Torah any other way diminishes its impact on our lives. In God’s creation of the universe, God blesses it and us with the word “good!”
The High Holidays were about starting over – finding our souls, repairing ourselves and our relationships, and setting a new path on a higher moral and ethical ground. Now as we start over reading Torah from the beginning, we have the opportunity to learn more about human nature, our possibilities toward good and for mistakes, through the deeds and misdeeds of our ancestors. If we use it as a roadmap for our own life’s journey, we have the possibilities of great personal discoveries and growth.
May you have a week of blessings and a Shabbat of peace,
Rabbi Debbie Israel