Starting the Torah Over Again
On Saturday evening, we mark the holiday of Simchat Torah, which translates as "the joy of Torah." It is a time where we celebrate having the Torah, as we finish the year-long cycle of reading and start again anew.
In referring to the Torah, Pirkei Avot (5:22) Ethics of our Fathers, teaches: Ben Bag Bag said: Turn it over, and [again] turn it over, for all is therein. And look into it; And become gray and old therein; And do not move away from it, for you have no better portion than it
According to this, learning Torah is a lifelong process that never ends. And every year, we're not just starting over, but we are deepening our understanding, taking what we've learned in previous years and building upon it, "turning it over again" and seeing what new insights we can glean.
And, the Torah stays the same every year! It is we who have changed or altered. The way we relate to Torah changes every year, at every age. And, the conditions of the world change as well. Last year at this time, the majority of us were not aware of COVID-19, and couldn't have predicted the ways in which it would change our lives. The Torah offers us a constant, a rock, something to continually look at and anchor us, no matter our life circumstances.
What are the things in your life that seem to stay the same as you change? How might these anchors offer us an opportunity for reflection and new insights? What new insights do YOU bring into this new year after the last few months?