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Bereishit

  • Bereishit 2019

    ‘And Hashem saw it was good’.

    As we restart the Torah readings for the new year we are reminded of Hashem’s creation of the world and, at each stage, His seal of approval.

    Every day we hear apocalyptical stories of climate change and the destruction of the world’s ecosystem. Forests burning, ice caps melting and thousands of species becoming extinct. We are all actively contributing to its destruction, so how come so many ‘turn a blind eye to it’.

    The Chovos Ha’Levovos tells a story:

  • Bereishit 2018

    In Bereishit we read the first of the encounters between two brothers, raising interesting issues about relationships and consequences. Cain and Abel are engaged in different forms of work. They differed in their concept of how to serve God, leading to jealousy and the first murder in history. Cain’s problem originated from his reaction to God’s rejection of his offering. When Cain became dejected, God told him that the rejection was not the end of the world. Improvement was well within his reach. God was trying to teach him how to repent but Cain refused to recognize this.

  • Bereishit 2017

    In recent months, we have witnessed devastation caused by unprecedented natural disasters - forest fires, hurricanes and flooding - leading to communities being evacuated and the tragic loss of life.  Long ago, we may have attributed such events to divine retribution or “acts of God”.  Today, however, we are ready to accept a much more direct responsibility for these catastrophic events.

  • Bereishit 2014

    Bereishit 5775 Back to the beginning….

    Another Jewish year starts, just as another school year has started, with all its challenges.

    And the Government said ‘Let all schools teach evolution’.

    So where does that leave Orthodox Judaism?

    According to Rabbi Lord Sacks:    “Evolution is one of the most remarkably religious ideas ever developed in science…. One of the most unexpected discoveries, when DNA was fully studied, was that all life has the same basic structure…

  • Bereishit 2013

    In Bereshit we read the first of the encounters between two brothers, raising interesting issues about relationships and consequences. Cain and Abel are engaged in different forms of work. They differed in their concept of how to serve God, leading to jealousy and the first murder in history. Cain’s problem originated from his reaction to God’s rejection of his offering. When Cain became dejected, God told him that the rejection was not the end of the world. Improvement was well within his reach. God was trying to teach him how to repent but Cain refused to recognize this.

  • Bereishit 5773

    This morning we begin yet again a new cycle of Torah reading. The name of the first book of the Torah, as well as the first Sidra is Bereshit, which means at the beginning. The word comes from Hebrew word ROSH, which means head. The Shabbat has a special title: Shabbat Bereshit. The book should be divided into three distinct sections. The first 11 chapters tell us about the beginning of civilisation, until the nations dispersed in different directions. The second section begins in chapter 12 and ends in chapter 38.

  • Bereishit 2012

    The last of the honey has been eaten with the last challah of the Tishrei festivals, and once again we come down to earth with a bang – or should that be a Big Bang?
    We recommence the annual Torah cycle with Bereishit..  But why now? Why did the Rabbis mandate Simchat Torah to be part of the Shemini Atzeret celebrations?
    Why not at Shavuot, which celebrates the time the Torah was given to us?
    Or Rosh Hashanah, which is when, we believe, the world was created?

  • Bereishit 2011

    Joseph Haydn’s oratorio, Michaelangelo’s fresco, Milton’s “Paradise Lost” – the story of the Creation has provided the material for almost every art form. But as we begin the new cycle of readings with Bereshit, we as Jews need to remind ourselves that the Torah is not just a book of stories - although there are many – but essentially a guide for living. It presents us with the tools to make wise life choices.  We don’t just read the Torah like any other book and then put it aside.  We read it year after year, and try to think about what it is trying to tell us in a very personal way.

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