There is something pretty awesome about the Shabbat when we read B’reisheit. It’s the third or fourth time in a month that we hit the perverbial reset button. Rosh Hashana is the new year; Yom Kippur is a new opportunity to fix your relationships; Sukkot renews your relatioship with nature and the world around you. This time of year is when we *ahem* turn it on again (I had to slip at least ONE Genesis references in!)
To be a bit more serious… Changing back over to on Simchat Torah is a very unique experience. We end the story of Moses with his death overlooking the land of Israel; the land he has spent the last 4 decades leading his people to; the land he will never set foot in.
Then there is nothing.
We go back to nothingness; to the time before the Lord created the universe. I find this to be an interesting parallel to Moses’ death.
When one dies, there are many theories as to what happens. Some cultures teach reincarnation, where you are instantly reborn into another life. Other faiths, both ancient and modern believe that you transition to another state of being. In the great Albert Brooks’ film “Defending Your Life” you even go on trial about all the decisions you’ve ever made.
Most men and women of science though… they believe that for the dead the world simply ceases to be. Therefore, I propose that one could consider death to be a return to creation. I don’t believe in coincidence; Moses’ death, his transition into nothingness is the Torah’s ultimate act of poetry and symbolizes the teaching that our study of Torah is never ending.
So as we read B’reisheit and Noach this year, remember that we are not starting our cycle of learning Torah over. Try looking at it from my perspective. I see these Torah portions as the final piece of renewal to come out of this jam-packed holiday season.
Our calendar is reset, our conscience and relationships are reset, our bodies are (for lack of a better term) reset back into nature… and our mind is reset as we look at the Torah with fresh eyes and an open mind.
Until next time, keep it real.
The Boston Mensch