B'REISHIT - GENESIS
A little bit of Torah to bring in Shabbat!
Read this week's Dvar, and past, on our website!
D'var by Aaron Kaufman, Executive Director
“At the beginning of God’s creating of the heavens and the earth, when the earth was wild and waste, darkness over the face of Ocean, rushing-spirit of God hovering over the face of the waters…”
The first words of the Torah are evocative, and speak to a sense of the world before creation as disordered and formless, with powerful forces existing but yet to be harnessed or controlled. This week’s Torah portion, the first chapters of the Book of Genesis, tells the story of how God creates order out of this chaos by shaping these forces into the world we know. God does this through separation and formation—separating light from darkness, heaven from earth, and dry land from the seas, and making the sun, the moon and all the plants and creatures of the earth.
There is a lesson here for us. Especially in college, we can often feel like a small ship tossing about in stormy seas, propelled by powers beyond our control. Whether it’s the expectations of our parents, social pressures, or the challenging job market, there are many factors that can make us feel like we don’t have control over our own lives. While we typically can’t alter the forces that impact us, we can shape how they influence us. This week’s Torah portion provides a road map: separation and formation, powerful tools for more deeply understanding ourselves. We can separate outside influences from our own innate beliefs and values, and in doing so ensure that we can make something positive in our lives in how we respond to challenges. Just as the pre-formed world had spectacular potential for creation, our own lives hold great promise as well.