Simchat Torah (rejoicing with the Torah), the last of the fall holidays, was celebrated on October 12th and 13th. On Simchat Torah, we finish reading the Torah (the last portion, or in Hebrew parsha), and then immediately begin the cycle again. This shows that the Torah is a never-ending, both in how we read it as Jews and how the lessons we draw from the Torah can be applied to our lives.
For the past two Sundays, we have reviewed the fall holidays and also taken a look into the first few stories in Genesis (in Hebrew, Bereisheet). In order to build a foundation to study some of the Jewish prophets, I think it is crucial that the students have a sense of who and what came before that time period. Indeed, a foundation that includes some knowledge of our “imahot and avot” (mothers and fathers, aka, matriarchs and patriarchs) not only provides a rich context, we also learn so many valuable lessons in these parshot (portions). We learn why many commentators on the Torah think God intended us to be vegetarian; we learn how important it is to be kind to each other; we learn about jealousy and anger and boasting – and the deadly outcomes of allowing these traits to rule us; we learn about kindness to animals; we learn about welcoming guests into our homes. And we learn the value of learning, a key component of our Jewish heritage. We can learn something new every time we look at a parsha; I am so grateful to live in a world replete with accessible information!
This coming Sunday, we will study the parsha that introduces us to Abraham and Sarah (did you know their names were originally Abram and Sarai?), and we will do so with an eye toward sustainable farming and animal husbandry!
1.Please pack a snack for your daughter/son; seeing the other students eating when you have nothing can be a lonely and hunger-inducing experience. (I bring extra snacks when I can, but as I do not have a car, I am not always able to get to the store.)
2.Please have your son/daughter bring their two text books each week: the Jewish Holiday book and the Hebrew language book.
3.If you can spare some change, the tzedekah box is always available to take donations . It’s pretty fun to put some money into the box and give it a shake, to get a sense of how our collection is going.
Wishing you a Shabbat shalom,