Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Starting Over

With all the Jewish Holidays, it has been crazy and I have not been able to do much writing. This coming Wednesday night thru Friday marks the end of this season of Holidays. It is a fun Holiday, but it is exhausting having so many different holidays in a row, taking the time off from work, making sure things are set ahead of time, etc. Unfortunately, I feel more of a relief when they are over than a feeling of sadness, sorry to see them go. Still, it is a fun Holiday and with the end of this Holiday, we will begin the book of Bresheit, Genesis all over again.

There are so many interesting things that happen in that book that I will not be at a shortage of things to discuss. There are times where I find myself getting frustrated with the traditional commentaries, although often times I do find lessons in them. Still, I think they often do too much to explain everything. What they tell us for one instance to make things fit, they say the exact opposite of in another instance.

As an example, when Abraham passes Sarah off as his sister because he fears for his life (I will have a lot more to say about that in future posts), we are told, through the commentary, that you do not wait on, or assume, a miracle from G-d, it is important to take matters into your own hands. Later on, when Joseph is in jail in Egypt and does that, tells the servant who is set free (and whose dream he successfully interrupts), to tell Pharaoh about him, the servant forgets and it is two years later before he remembers. The commentary says this is Joseph’s punishment for not having faith in G-d, and seeking the help of a mere mortal to get him out. But, for Abraham, this was a good thing. Still, I find this all fascinating.

I do have to confess, I am often surprised I have not been struck down by lighting for my next thought, and something I have occasionally talked about. If you look at the entire book of Genesis, forget the commentary, just look at the text, I think the character that comes out looking “the worst”, or at least pretty bad, is The Almighty himself. I will have thoughts on that to.

All this being said, I still find it important, I still believe and I still go to Shul. I just find some of my own lessons as well and I enjoy some of the inconsistencies that are there, or that those who are on a higher level than I would say, “appear to be there”.

I love the fact that on Simchat Torah, as soon as we finish reading the end of the last book, the book of Deuteronomy , we go right back and start the book of Genesis all over again. We are anxious to begin anew, we are anxious to find a new understanding of things we have read numerous times. I think that is a wonderful lesson to follow for life, no matter how many times you do something, you can always gain a new understanding, insight and approach to doing it again. I look forward to once again going through my favorite book of the five books of the Torah (I am not alone there) and seeing what new insights I gain.

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