This past Sunday night we gathered in celebration of Simchat Torah and to consecrate our newest religious school students. It was a joyous evening of singing and dancing with our Torah scrolls and communally acknowledging the importance of Jewish learning. We finished our cycle of Torah reading with the last few verses of Deuteronomy and immediately began this year’s cycle of reading with the first few verses of Genesis, God’s first day of creation.
In the Reform tradition we read the Torah, The Five Books of Moses, in their entirety over the course of one year. We return again and again to the same readings, yet each time, hopefully, we learn something new. The rabbinic sage Ben Bag-Bag said “Turn it and turn it again, for everything is in it. And in it should you look, and grow old and be worn in it; and from it do not move, since there is no characteristic greater than it” (Pirkei Avot 5:22).
There are so many resources available for those who wish to study and opportunities at Temple for group learning as well, including Tea & Torah (which is starting again this week!) and Adult Ed programs. Rabbi Hillel taught, “Say not, ‘When I have leisure, I will study,’ lest you never have leisure” (Pirkei Avot 2:4).
Our Simchat Torah celebration was a wonderful multi-generational event, reminding us that, no matter what our age, we ought to joyfully engage in Jewish learning.