Monday, October 8, 2012

Starting The Cycle All Over Again

Finally…Simchat Torah. We finally get to celebrate the conclusion of the Torah reading cycle But, wait.  On this day we start the cycle all over again.  We believe that everything we want to know is in this scroll.  It is only perhaps a matter of reading it a different way if the wisdom is not immediately apparent. It’s about coming to it with fresh eyes and trying to tackle it with new meaning and hopefully some deeper understanding.
The Torah closes and the Torah opens: Bereshit bara Elohim et hashamayim v’et ha’aretz. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
Such power. Parashat Bereshit is about beginnings. The world was created from nothing. And, after each accomplishment, God said:
“This is very good!” (1:31)
But when the creation of the world was finished, a partnership had to be formed.
Rabbi Marc Gellman wrote a midrash for children that provides us with the opportunity to do just that. . . .

This midrash on creation begins with God, the Angels, and rocks and waters As creation begins, the separation of waters, the Angels ask, ‘Is it finished?’ and God responds, ‘Not yet.’
Throughout the process, step-by-step, the Angels ask, ‘Is it finished,’ and God responds, ‘Not yet.’
Finally, yes, finally, God creates man and woman, God is ready to rest and asks man and woman to finish the process of creation. However, man and woman find this process overwhelming After all, they do not know what God has planned. They do not feel worthy.
They are told that they are capable and that God will partner with them to finish the world.
Not understanding what it means to be a partner, God explains that a partner is someone with whom you work on something you cannot do alone. Partnership implies mutual responsibility because your partner is depending on you. We will still be partners on the days that each thinks the other is not doing enough. Even on those days we cannot give up trying to finish, or, should I say, ‘perfecting the world.’ So, they agree to be partners.
Once more, the Angels ask God, ‘Is the world finished yet?’ and God answers, “Ask my partners.’
In this midrash, we are asked to question what it means to partner with God. Creation is an ongoing process. It does not end on the sixth day of creation.

That’s what partnering and the process of creating is all about. It keeps continuing. Our ‘presence’ matters. There’s no manual. We use our eyes and our brains and our hearts….and we do the best that we can to continue the process of completing the world. Remember, we’re partners. And our other partners are depending on us.
As we learn in Pirkei Avot (2:16), our obligation is to begin the work, not to complete it.
This is all....very good. 

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