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To start from the beginning

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Something festive is happening this week and it would be a shame to miss it.

Immediately after Simchat Torah, the most fundamental and classic learning cycle in Judaism begins. With all due respect (and much respect is due) to the daily page of Gemara, the daily Mishnah, the daily halacha, the daily Rambam, and all other such daily learning commitments, this week we start from the beginning of everything: parashat Bereishit. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." The weekly Torah portion is divided into seven parts, and it is customary to learn one part each day of the week with Rashi's commentary.

It's possible to learn the weekly Torah portion alone or with our spouse, with our children or with our parents, with grandpa and grandma, or with a friend. The parasha can be found on Google and many commentaries on every Torah verse are available on And then, of course, it's possible to acquire a book containing one or more of the multitude of commentaries on the Torah, or simply to open a Chumash and dive in or -- perhaps I should say -- take off.

This is not a study of history but of current events, of what is happening today. The Torah speaks to us and about us. A daily study of Torah, even if only for a few minutes, imparts stability and sanity at a time when we are in great need of them. Two weeks before we make our choices at the ballot box, we have an opportunity to make an additional choice, but with eternal significance: the choice of daily Torah study.


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