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When the Torah Comes Full Circle - וזאת הברכה

Friday, 6 October, 2023 - 2:12 pm

 

When the Torah Comes Full Circle 

 

On the day of Simchat Torah, when we celebrate the conclusion of the annual cycle of the Torah reading, as soon as we conclude the reading of the final verse of the Torah, we begin the cycle again by reading the first section of the Torah. This is because the Torah is infinite, and therefore, no matter the depth of meaning we uncover in our study, we are just beginning to explore the Divine wisdom within the Torah. 

 

Many commentators, therefore, sought to glean insight from the connection between the conclusion of the five Books of Moses to the beginning. 

 

The final verses of the Torah describe Moses greatness: 

 

And there was no other prophet who arose in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face,

 

The Torah then describes the great miracles that Moses performed before the Jewish people: 

 

as manifested by all the signs and wonders, which the Lord had sent him to perform in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and all his servants, and to all his land, and all the strong hand, and all the great awe, which Moses performed before the eyes of all Israel.

 

The beginning of the Torah describes the creation of the world and all of the natural phenomenon: 

 

In the beginning God created heaven and earth —

 

When we begin to read the Torah, we understand that G-d created the world and the natural order. As we progress through the narrative, we begin to experience revelation, we read of prophecy and miracles, we read of Divine providence and G-dly intervention, which interfere with and disturb the natural order. The Torah concludes by addressing the extraordinary miracles which the Jewish people experienced. And then, we return to the beginning and, once again, read about the creation of the natural order. This is because, after we experience  miracles and revelation, we reach a deeper understanding. We come to recognize that nature itself is also a miracle. We realize that G-d is present within the natural order just as He is present within the extraordinary. 

 

Connecting the end of the Torah to its beginning fosters the awareness that the miraculous and the natural are expressions of one G-d, who can be felt and experienced not only in the extraordinary and inspired moments of life but also in what seems to be the ordinary, predictable and mundane times in our life.

 

(Adapted from Tefilah Lemoshe)

 

 

 

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