Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Torah Connection - V'Zot HaBracha

Finally, the last parsha of the Torah, read on Simchat Torah, which begins tonight.  This is Moses' final speech to the Children of Israel.  His final prophecy, the words of a loving father on his deathbed, offering his blessings to each child.  We can read each blessing and internalize its message as if it was directed to ourselves. Because, of course, it is.

Tonight is the Great Rewind.  I suppose different congregations do it differently, but our congregation does it like this:  Several dozen people line the perimeter of the sanctuary; the Torah scroll is carefully unfurled, and each person holds up a page of parchment; when the entire scroll is open, we start reading. Each person is prepared with a short summary of one parsha, and we basically go through a Cliff Notes rendition of the entire Torah.  Finally, it is rolled back up.

Tomorrow morning, we read the final parsha.

 Then, without missing a beat, we take the newly-rewound scroll, and read the first chapter of Bereshit (Genesis):

The last letter of the Torah is a Lamed, and the first letter is Bet.  When those are concatenated, we get the word לב, which means "heart". Thus we fulfill the commandment in the blessing after the Shema,

ה  וְאָהַבְתָּ, אֵת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, בְּכָל-לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל-נַפְשְׁךָ, וּבְכָל-מְאֹדֶךָ.5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy G*d with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
ו  וְהָיוּ הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה, אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם--עַל-לְבָבֶךָ.6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be upon thy heart;

And so the Tishrei marathon of holidays comes to an end, as well.

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