This Shabbat is called “Shabbat Bereishit”, as we begin, quite literally, at the Beginning. A few days ago on Simchat Torah we concluded reading the Torah by recalling the events surrounding Moses’ death, and then immediately began once again with the dramatic account of G-d’s creation of the universe.
Perhaps it is a commonly discussed idea, but the fact that we begin the Torah right after finishing it says a lot about our people. A similar practice is done when one finishes learning a tractate of Talmud. Although a new tractate is not usually begun right away, at the festive “Siyum” meal of which the learners partake, a prayer is said expressing their hope to begin and finish other tractates and holy books.
The Chassidic work “Hayom Yom”, which is comprised of short sayings or teachings arranged according to the days of the year, expresses this though for todays date; “Torah and Mitzvot surround a Jewish person from the moment they leave their mother’s womb, until their dying day.”
When it comes to our careers, at a certain point we retire. Projects we work on are eventually finished. Vacations end, friendships and relationships wax and wane. And eventually we pass away. The material world we know and recognize is in a constant state of flux. There are very few anchors, foundations that remain unchanged throughout the ages. The exception of course is the Eternal G-d, His Eternal Torah, and the Eternal Jewish people. Together these three inseparable entities form a bond that transcends time and space.
When we, as a community, end and begin the Torah again we are keeping this cycle alive. We transform ourselves into a cog in the wheel of eternity and give balance and meaning to the whole creation.
Mazel Tov on completing, and beginning the Torah once again.
Rabbi Akiva Hall