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January 13, 2017  RSS feed
Rabbinically Speaking

Text: T T T

Stories of the Torah and their message

By RABBI SHALOM ADLER Chabad of Pinellas County, Palm Harbor

On Shabbat, Jan. 14, we concluded the reading of the first of the Five Books of the Torah. Bereishit (Genesis) covers a few thousand years of history, from the creation of Adam and Eve until the passing of our Patriarch Jacob in Egypt, twenty three generations and more than 2,000 years later.

Bereishit is unusual and it cannot be compared to the other four Books of the Torah. The word Torah means “teaching” and as such, it is the medium through which G-d teaches us His Commandments. Interspersed with the Mitzvot, a narrative takes place that gives us some context for the Commandments and when they were communicated to us. Bereishit however, is all narrative. It is one story after another, with virtually no Mitzvot mentioned at all. Why would a Book of Law dedicate 20 percent of its space to stories?

To tell you the truth, this is not my question, and I am not being original. This question is addressed by the classic commentator Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki 1040-1105) at the very beginning of the Torah. He says that the reason for the entire story of Creation, Noah’s Ark, the lives of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs and their children is to teach us one important lesson. G-d created the world, and G-d chose to give the Land of Israel to the Jewish People. No amount of UN resolutions, no threats of BDS or isolation can change that simple fact.

We need to be resolute and clear. We need not apologize. We should be proud of our Holy Land, and do our utmost to support her.

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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