08 Oct Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Breishit 5776
Having celebrated the holiday of Simchat Torah earlier this week, this Shabbat we begin the third year of our triennial cycle of Torah readings by reading the final third of Parashat Breishit, the first portion of the Torah. Of course much time in this parasha is devoted to the stories of creation, as it should be, and significant time is spent on the Adam, Eve and their family – also as it should be. But by the end of the parasha, the Torah leaves the task of story telling to rather rapid passage of time by describing the lineage that sprouted through Adam. Our next major story to read about is that of Noah, who was ten generations removed from Adam. The Torah could have simply said “Ten generations later, Noah lived….” But instead it is explicit in the understanding that Noah was a descendant of Adam and an ancestor of Abraham. By including these details, the Torah gifts us with the certainty that these stories are those of our ancestors, ours and everyone else who traces their history back through the Five Books of Moses. And since they are our ancestors, we value their lives, treasure what we know about them, and learn from their every action.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik