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Links in the Chain

That is what our year is. The year is a circle from one Rosh Hashanah to another. Your birthday is a circle from one birthday to another. And on Simchat Torah, we celebrate the circle of the Torah. Every year we read through the whole Five books of Moses, and we close the circle on Simchat Torah, a holiday that means “the joy of Torah.” This year, Simchat Torah falls on Sunday, Oct. 19. We will dance in a circle around the Torah and read the last verses from the book of Deuteronomy (Devarim) and the first verses from the book of Genesis (Bereshit).

Torah in the Storah!

In this nonsense story, you will find words that sound like the English names of the Five Books of the Moses. Find them and send me the answers to win! (Clue: Some of the answers are made up of a few smaller words.)

Last time I went to the store, I met Jenny’s sis. She was in the vegetable section, looking for cucumbers. We couldn’t find them, so we asked the store manager, and he said: "Leave it to us, we’ll find them for you!" He took us to the back of the store and showed us the cucumber bin. "Do the astronomy," he said. We had no idea what he meant, but then we realized that the cucumbers had been next to us the whole time!

A Portion of Parasha Breshit


Here we go again! We start the New Year by reading the Torah all over again from the beginning. Why do we do this, year after year? Why do we read the same things over and over again? Maybe we can find the answer in the word that means “year” in Hebrew: shana.

There are two words in Hebrew that are similar to shana — and they might look like they are linked to the word shana. One is shina — meaning “changed” and the other one is shinen — meaning “repeated it over and over again until it was learned.” (Yes, that little word means all that!) Changed and repeated, those two words sound like opposites. But they are not. It’s like going back to school every year — you’ll always have math, English and history. But every year, you build on what you learned the year before. You can’t do subtraction without knowing addition; you can’t do multiplication and then later division without knowing addition and subtraction.

The year moves in a circle, and so do the Torah readings. But it isn’t really a circle. It’s a spiral that comes around to the same spot every year, but one level higher (similar to a stretched-out Slinky). So, this year, we will learn something about “Breshit” that is based on what we learned last year. Each year our understanding deepens — of our school lessons, of our Torah readings and of our life.