Sivan Rahav-Meir
Sivan Rahav-Meirצילום: אייל בן יעיש

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin (http://inthelandoftheJews.blogspot.com)

Something festive is happening this week and it would be a shame to miss it.

Immediately after Simchat Torah, the most fundamental and classic learning cycle in Judaism begins. With all due respect (and much respect is due) to the daily page of Gemara, the daily Mishnah, the daily halacha, the daily Rambam, and all other such daily learning commitments, this week we start from the beginning of everything: Parashat Bereishith. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

The weekly Torah portion is divided into seven parts, and it is customary to learn one part each day of the week with Rashi's commentary.

It's possible to learn the weekly Torah portion alone or with one's spouse, with our children, our parents, grandpa and grandma, or with a friend. The parasha can be found on Google and many commentaries on every Torah verse are available on sefaria.org.

And then, of course, on Shabbat as well as during the week, it's possible to acquire a book containing one or more of the multitude of commentaries on the Torah, or simply to open a Chumash and dive in or -- perhaps I should say -- take off.

Here is one flight plan:

This week's parasha describes the Creation of Man, and one sentence shows the endless possibilities that come from consulting with others

When Adam is created, it is written: "And God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.'" When it comes to God, what is "Let us make" all about? Isn't God one of a kind, all-powerful, and not in need of assistance? For thousands of years, our commentators have tried to answer that question.

Regarding this verse, Rashi comments that God is teaching us proper conduct, that we must act with humility. "Let us make" is written because God sought counsel from the angels before He created man so that the angels would not envy this new creation, who was made in their likeness.

Although, in truth, God alone created man, and even though the words "Let us make man" are bound to cause confusion, an important guideline for living is being conveyed : Even the greatest individuals benefit from consulting with those of lesser stature.

In this context, our creation was a cooperative venture that gave honor to the idea of showing generosity and sensitivity towards others, regardless of their status. During a week in which we read this in the Torah, we can adopt for ourselves a mission of taking others' feelings into account in pursuit of our goals.

We need to be there for others -- not through "sharing" with them on social media, but rather through allowing them into our lives: to listen to our children, for example, and to give them the feeling that their input matters as we make decisions about their future; to consider the opinions and the ideas of those who work for us and to make them feel significant; to relate to everyone cooperatively, no matter if they are lesser than us in some way, by acting in a manner that is beneficial to them.

"Let us make man"; let us consult with one another. With such an attitude, the possibilities of what we might create are endless.

This is not a study of history but of current events, of what is happening today. The Torah speaks to us and about us. A daily study of Torah, even if only for a few minutes, imparts stability and sanity at a time when we are in great need of them.

Two weeks before we make our choices at the ballot box, we have an opportunity to make an additional choice, but with eternal significance: the choice of daily Torah study.