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October 25, 2019
26 Tishrei 5780

Parashat Bereshit
Genesis 1:1 - 6:8

Dear Friends,

There is a line in one of my favorite movies about going back to the beginning where it all began. Interestingly enough, although the place may be the same, the individuals no longer are; their experiences have changed them.

So here we are back at the beginning again, ready to embark on the journey of reading the Torah once more from its first letter, an oversized Bet, as was noted on Simchat Torah night. We end and begin every year. We read the same Torah every year. But like the characters in the movie, the words may be the same, but we are not. In the course of a year, the world has changed, the contours of our personal lives have changed and through it all, we are not exactly who we were a year ago.

Why should this matter? This is an opportunity to see the world with fresh eyes or perhaps engage more easily with the world from a different perspective. This week at Hebrew School, our amazing children did just that.

Our Torah begins with two creation stories, one told from a distance with the only speaking part given to the Divine. It is the story of how the world, our world, was made in six segments and how on the seventh day God rested and named that day Shabbat.

The second story is messy. It has four speaking roles, if we don’t count the animals that Adam gave names to. It is a story of human beginnings, with Adam, Eve, a serpent, and the Divine in a specified place with clear rules -- Eden.

Instead of exploring the details of the two tellings, we explored the fact that there were two different perspectives at play. Each child was given the task of drawing something head on and from above. Things look very different if we see them from only one vantage point rather than two or three or even more.

Even when engaging in the text with our somewhat different selves, one thing remains true each and every day as creation renews itself. Zeh hayom Asah Adonai, this is the day Adonai has made.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Linda Shriner-Cahn

Sat, September 19 2020 1 Tishrei 5781