Judaism: Vezot Habracha: The Continuum of Torah
Moshe BurtMoshe Burt is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of the Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.
Somehow, not being rabbinic figure or a Talmud Chacham, it has always seemed difficult to put a true and deep meaning of Hashem’s creation to words to express the continuim of the end and the beginning of Torah.
Shem Mishmuel concludes a vort on V’zos HaBracha this way;
Let us propose that these brachot are eternal, that they were not just pronounced by Moshe to Klal Yisrael on his last day on earth, but like the rest of Torah, their influence is everlasting. Indeed, the beautiful blessings which Moshe bestowed upon us are still with us, as if he were standing and blessing every one of us today. Of course, as with their inception, the quality of the brachot will depend upon the ability of each of us to successfully receive them.
Perhaps this is why, throughout history, the Jewish people have ended the cycle of Torah-reading on Simchat Torah, rather than at any other time or on any other festival. Tishrei marks the most intense opportunity for spiritual development of the Jewish year. Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Succot, and Shemini Atzeret are all within a few days of each other.
It is only after all of these observances and experiences that we are at our most receptive to the Divine blessing. At that zenith of spiritual success, we read the final verses of the Torah, including Moshe’s blessings to his nation, hoping and praying that we will merit to receive them for the year ahead. (Sefer Shem Mishmuel, V’zos HaBracha, page 459)
When we receive Divine Brachot for the year to come in V’zos HaBracha on Simchat Torah, we should/must recognize, that these final verses don’t mark a finish, a completion but rather just a beginning (like the end of one baseball season with the crowning of World Champions followed almost immediately by non-stop preparations for the inception of the new season), for the eternal Torah renews itself eternally in applicability and pertinence with the end of the current cycle and beginning of each new cycle.
The joy of completion must extend to the joy of continuance, the joy of new learning and new perspectives which build level upon level on that already learned.
In Hashem’s expression of creation in Sefer Breish’t, Perek 1, posuk 1; “Breish’t, Bora, Kelokim.” (”In the beginning, Hashem created the heavens and the earth”), Torah surely wasn’t referring to that parody of Major League Baseball; you know the one, ‘In the big inning.’
In one of his memorable Jewish Times articles: “Goodbye Wall, “Rav Kahane z’l indicates, to those who make the trip to Israel for Succot to, publically and unabashedly celebrate 2 days of Yom Tov on the 1st and last days and then rush back to Chutz L’Aretz on the red-eye special almost immediately upon the end of the Chutz Simchat Torah, the message could be — You’re a Jew, You belong here, connected to your land; that the truest, purest form of Mitzvot is achieved here in Eretz Yisrael.
It appears as if Hashem, as we comprehend, is saying to the Yom Tov visitors, “The Chaggim have ended and I now begin anew in bringing the onset of the Rainy Season.” If there is a message that we can take from “MaShiv HaRuach U’Morid HaGeshem” ("Who makes the wind blow and makes the rain descend" -- Artscroll Siddur rendering of the phrase said within the 2nd Bracha of Shemonah Esrei), can we understand it to be that the apparent mindset of our Chutznik friends and relatives, “Fantasy is over, back to "reality," jobs, bills, responsibilities and so, “Goodbye Wall,” is at best flawed? That the Torah doesn't end, but rather renews?
And to those Israelis, who passionately crave the “Normal Life” — normal like any other nation -- and who are, as Olmert put it on the heels of his and Sharon’s expulsion of their, our fellow Jews, “tired of fighting, tired of winning…” and who are thus confused as to who they are, why there is an Israel and why they are here, this quote of Rashi and his question on R. Yitzchak, as rendered in the Metsudah Chumash/Rashi linear Translation (Rashi on Sefer Breish’t, Perek 1, posuk 1) relating to “Breish’t, Bora, Kelokim” seems more than appropriate;
R. Yitzchak said: The Torah should have begun with [the verse] “This month shall be [your first month],” it being the first precept that the Israelites were commanded. Then why does it [the Torah] begin with “In the beginning”? This is because [of the concept contained in the verse,] “He declared the power of His works to His people in order to give them the inheritance of the nations.” Thus, should the nations of the world say to Israel, “You are robbers, for you have taken by force the lands of the Seven Nations,” they [Israel] will say to them: “All the earth belongs to G’d. He created it and gave it to whomever He saw fit. It was his will to give it [the land] to them and it was His will to take it [Eretz Yisrael] from them and give it to us.”
So we must take the craving for real improvement, the craving to make things right between our Jewish brethren and throughout Am Yehudi into the new year. And at this auspicious time, may all of us have our brother Jonathan Pollard — Yehonatan Ben Malka, and Sholom Rubashkin both of whom have suffered the injustices of the US Justice System and extraordinarily long prison sentences, prominently in our hearts, thoughts, prayers and in mind in our actions — that Hashem see to their respective releases and return to their brethren in THIS year — sooner than later.
May our hearts yearn that Hashem see sufficient merit in all of us to justify Jonathan Pollard’s and Sholom Rubashkin's liberation and return to us — achshav, chik chuk, miyad, etmol!
May we, the B’nai Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them at leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized gunpoint, that our dear brethren Jonathan Pollard and Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the other MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem V’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bim hay v’yameinu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!
L’Shana Tova, Chag Same’ach and Good Shabbos! — may all who read this vort be inscribed and sealed for a healthy, happy, sweet and prosperous 5773 and every year thereafter to at least 120!