Messages from Rabbi Russo

October 28, 2016 - 26 Tishrei

We begin anew again in our Torah reading cycle with Parashat Bereshit.  We got a taste of this reading on Simchat Torah when we read from the end of the Torah and the beginning of the Torah on the same day.
In Hebrew School this week, we took out two Torahs and compared the beginning and end of the Torah scrolls as we contemplated the cyclical nature of the Torah readings.  We focused on how the Torah begins with a Bet from the word Bereshit, often translated as in the beginning. The Torah ends with the word, Yisrael, Israel, concluding with the letter Lamed, which speaks to the peoplehood of Israel.  A Hasidic commentator noted that when paired together the letters spell the word Lev, which means heart.  For our students, sharing about their love for the Torah and holidays came easily for them.  It was deeply gratifying to hear.
I sometimes find it easier to foster our love of Torah in the midst of the excitement of the holidays.  Our family program and Hakafot, the dancing with the Torahs, on Monday night was so joyful that it was easy to feel the heart, the love of Torah and love for each other.  Now that we are entering a quieter time in the Jewish calendar, may each of us find the heart to connect with Torah and our community.  Let's start the new year with an abundance of love and really put our hearts into our Jewish identities, practices, and communities.    
Shabbat Shalom.