Sign In Forgot Password

Beresheet

10/15/2020 02:18:08 PM

Oct15

moon, stars, Beresheet

 

The Genesis stories are the foundations of Jewish culture and spirituality. These are not simple fables but a complex and nuanced saga that constantly challenges us to look deeper into the issues raised and into our own hearts. Here are some of the themes explored in this week's parsha, the beginning of Genesis.
 

 

The Creation of the World: Ma'aseh Beresheet
Seven days of creation. Rather than a simple unfolding, each day seems to form a pair with the one that comes after it as opposite forces that should annihilate each other are brought into dynamic harmony. Light and dark, sea and land, animals and vegetation, time and eternity swirl around a center of stillness until finally, human consciousness is created to somehow encompass it all. The culminating act of creation is, paradoxically, Shabbat, an act of cessation and completion: a day of wholeness that unifies the infinite cosmos in a covenant of timelessness.
 
The Saga of Humanity: Faith and rebellion
Cheit Adam HaRishon -- the Sin of the First People
The Garden of Eden narrative begins with a contradiction: "from all of the trees in the garden you may eat. Do not eat of the tree in the middle of the garden." Which is it? Freedom and license to fully be, or self-limitation and the freedom to refrain? The creation itself is marred by human power and we are banished from primal unity.
 
Kayin and Hevel: Am I my brother's keeper?
The episodes of Kayin and Hevel and the descendants of the two lines of humanity show the unfolding of the choice in the Garden of Eden as G-d seeks again and again to find a place of meeting with G-d's creation, humanity. Our partnership with G-d in creation is again marred by our penchant for violence and death. The ten generations that come next show how human power can unmake creation itself.
 
Noah: Can we begin again?
It is our ability to forge a relationship with G-d, a Covenant of life, that represents our only hope of fulfilling humanity's promise. What does it mean to be the stewards of the world? How do we get our lives back on track?
 
Links: For all Ages, these videos and essays encourage us to connect at a deeper level.
 
Why Did God Create Me?
Video: Rabbi David Fohrman's provocative fresh look at how the Creation Story relates to each of us
 
What does it mean to be human?
Essay: Rabbi Jonathan Sacks' exploration of taking responsibilities.
 
The Mysterious Light
Video: Rabbi Lawrence Kushner tells us cosmic secrets about creation.
 
G-d is speaking...
Video: Galyn Sussman of Pixar Studio's shares how to hear G-d's voice.
 

Wed, April 14 2021 2 Iyyar 5781