Beginnings, New Things And…….
A phrase that I grew up with from my earliest years states: “vee m’n firtzich oif Shabbos B’reishis, azoi gayt dee gantze yohr” – “How we conduct ourselves on Shabbos B’reishis, so flows the whole year”. (Not that I needed to translate that for any of you, but just in case…)
This week symbolises new beginnings, opportunities, hopes and dreams. It describes the very first footsteps of mankind, walking on a pristine new world. The stars studding a previously ink-black sky and a moon casting its first silvery shadow. The soil had never been furrowed and no ships had sailed across the oceans.
Everything that happened did so for the first time in history. Imagine being the first person ever to witness a flower opening or to see the sun set over the ocean. Being the first one ever to hear the morning chorus of the birds or the patter of raindrops on the earth.
Imagine being presented with a history book and a quill and told to write the very first words.
That was Adam and Eve way back then, and it is also each and every one of us right here and now. I once heard someone say that he is jealous of his son who had not yet watched a certain movie. When I ask him why, he said that’s because his son still had the opportunity to watch it for the very first time! I told him to sit down with his son and to watch it with him, to be part of that new experience, to see it with fresh eyes. To make it new.
The cycle of the Jewish calendar is repetitive, and indeed the word for year in Hebrew – Shanah, is etymologically connected to Sheni – to repeat, the second one. However, our challenge it to see that new cycle as being something new, its why the Hebrew word for Month – Chodesh is derived from the word Chodosh – new. Each Shanah, each repetition must also be a Chodesh, something new.
We start that new cycle this week, we’ve rolled the Sefer Torah back to the very beginning and will once again read the Sedra of B’reishis. We will read of new beginnings, but will we accept the challenge to see them in our own lives?