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October 5, 2018  RSS feed
Rabbinically Speaking

Text: T T T

Restart button for the Torah?

By Rabi Pinchas Adler Chabad of Pinellas County

Has your cell phone or computer given you trouble? The apps and programs were not working right? What did you do? Usually, people press the restart button. The wonderful restart button that makes all the wonky technology work again.

That being the case, why do we need to restart the Torah? On Simchat Torah (Oct. 2nd this year) we finish reading the entire Torah. Right away we restart the Torah. Why? Didn’t we just finish the Torah? Was there something wrong with the way we learned it last year that we must learn it again?

The story is told of a child in Hebrew school who really took her studies to heart. The first year in the Hebrew school, they were studying the weekly Torah portion and when they got up to the story of Joseph she started crying. How cruel of his brothers to sell him into slavery – how could they do such a thing?

The next year the teacher is ready. As they get up to the story of Joseph the teacher is prepared with a wad of tissues. Lo and behold when they learn the story of Joseph, the little girl bursts out laughing. The teacher asked, what’s the difference between this year and the last?

The student explained that last year Joseph had no idea what he was getting into. This year Joseph should have known to stay away from his brothers, it was his fault!

The truth is that although we read the same stories, lessons, and laws every year, we are not just reading it again and again so that we don’t forget it. Rather it is because the Torah, being the will and wisdom of G-d has a timeless message. As you grow as a person there is a new and deeper lesson that you can glean from the Torah that you may not have noticed before.

The story of Joseph and the whole Torah this year should give you new lessons and a new perspective. If you just rely on your memory of the stories as you learned them in Hebrew school, then you will have lessons fit for an 11-year-old, not for how you live your life in 2018!

The easiest way to achieve this would be by studying the Torah with a new commentary, online class or better yet with a group of friends.

May G-d bless us all with a year full of growth and success in our learning and understanding of His Holy Torah.

The Rabbinically Speaking column is provided as a public service by the Jewish Press. Columns are assigned on a rotating basis by the Pinellas County Board of Rabbis. The views expressed in this guest column are those of the rabbi and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Jewish Press or the Board of Rabbis.

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