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Start Again

by Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow

  

Library » Holidays » Simchat Torah | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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A Page Turner

When was the last time you spent an entire year reading a two thousand-page novel and then launched into a second reading of it on the very day you finished? When was the last time you spent an entire year reading this novel for the second time and then launched into a third reading of it on the very day you finished it again?

Have you ever found a novel that has so captivated your interest, so triggered your fascination that you simply couldn’t put it down? That you simply had to read it every single day of your life? I believe you have, and it’s called the Torah. The author of this book is G-d and the content sure is novel…


A Book of Instruction

On Simchat Torah we finish a yearlong recital/study of this book and as soon as we read the last verse we turn around and launch into a renewed reading of the first verse. We do so to indicate that the Torah is not just a book we read for pleasure or for its literary value. To us it is a manual of instruction, a source of direction, a book of life. The very word “Torah” is rooted in the Hebrew word “Hora’ah” which means “instruction”.

We read it every day and never grow weary. We finish the book but start over again for we are never truly finished

What We Learn From It

We read it every day and never grow weary. We finish the book but start over again for we are never truly finished. We may have completed the study but we are never complete. There always remains something more to learn, something more to accomplish, something more to improve upon.

The story is told of a diligent student who approached his rabbi and proudly informs him that he has competed a yearlong study of the entire Torah. “I don’t doubt that you have studied the Torah,” says the rabbi, “but I am more interested in knowing what your Torah study has taught you…”

As we complete the annual cycle of Torah reading this year let’s reflect on the Torah’s impact on our personal lives. Let’s resolve to increase the amount of time spent studying the Torah. Let’s resolve to sign up for the classes offered at our Shul. Let’s resolve not only to study the Torah but also to learn from it.


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Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Simchat Torah
An extremely joyous one-day autumn festival following the holiday of Sukkot. In Israel it is the eighth day of Sukkot, outside of Israel it is celebrated the next day, the day after Shmini Atzeret. Every Sabbath we read a portion of the Torah. On this holiday we celebrate the completion of the yearly cycle.
Shul
(Yiddish) Synagogue.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.