[JOI Word of Torah] Big Tent Judaism: Bereishit
Kerry M. Olitzky
kolitzky at joi.org
Tue Oct 2 18:22:17 GMT 2007
"Big Tent Judaism" Word of Torah
October 6, 2007 / 24 Tishrei, 5768
There are few beginnings that are not truly difficult. They demand of us a
great deal of self-discipline and self-motivation, forcing us out of our
complacency. Most beginnings require courage and fortitude. Gd created this
world out of nothingness, says this week's Torah portion. It was tohu
vavohu-a dark chaotic nothingness. The mystics say that since Gd fills the
entire universe, Gd had to contract the Divine self in order for the world
to have been created.
We are at a time of new beginnings in the Jewish community. The New Year has
just started. A new cycle of Torah readings, as well. The rhythm of Jewish
life is unique for in it is the simultaneous action of forging ahead while
holding on to the past.
What we do this year-as with every year in the journey of the Jewish
people-will determine its future. Each step we take does make a difference.
The ingredients for such a rich and vibrant community are before us. The
Rabbis teach that humankind is obligated to finish the creation of the
world, started by Gd, as noted in Genesis. So if we want to create a more
inclusive Jewish community, we have to begin now. We need only finish the
creation already started.
Rabbi Kerry Olitzky is the author of many inspiring books that bring the
Jewish wisdom tradition into everyday life, and is most recently the
co-author of 20 Things for Grandparents of Interfaith Grandchildren to Do
(And Not Do) to Nurture Jewish Identity in Their Grandchildren and Jewish
Holidays: A Brief Introduction for Christians.
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You are welcome to use these ideas in your own work and writings as long as
you would be so kind as to credit Rabbi Kerry Olitzky and the Jewish
Outreach Institute, thank you.
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