Friday, October 14, 2016

Shabbat Around the Table -- Ha'azinu

In this week's parshaHa'azinu, Moses recites a poem praising God before he ascends Mount Nebo. He knows he will not be permitted to enter the Promised Land before he dies; he will only be able to look upon it from a distance. Moses is very near the end of his life at this moment, and we are very near the end of the Torah.

In our tradition, we celebrate both beginnings and endings. I've always found the final shofar blast at the end of Yom Kippur services to be rather celebratory, almost like a festive acknowledgement of all our hard work. We mark the end of Shabbat with candles, wine, and spices at Havdalah. And on Simchat Torah, after we read the last words of the Torah, we celebrate by immediately reading from Bresheit, the first book of the Torah.

It reminds me of all those times I've finished reading a book to a child and she immediately cries out, "Read it again!" She loved the story so much, or she loved being read to so much, that she didn't want the experience to end. The message for our children, then, is simple. We love the stories in our Torah so much, and we love reading our Torah so much, that we don't ever want it to end. As soon as we finish it, we can't wait to start reading it all over again.

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