As we begin reading the book of Bereshit, we encounter the most beautiful stories of our heritage. It is interesting that we begin the Torah with stories and not with hardcore laws and restrictions. We are all the children of Hashem and children love to hear stories. It opens their minds but more importantly it opens their hearts.
Many times when we hear a story, we can see ourselves in the story. Sometimes it can remind us of something in the past, and sometimes we can imagine ourselves as if we were there in that particular story, and what we might have done.
Rabbi Nachman of Breslov also taught us a lot of his holy teachings in the form of a story. A story has a very powerful way of teaching. Sometimes saying something directly, as truthful as it might be, does not have the same impact long-term, as does a story that can go deeply into someone’s heart. Sometimes I remember that story over and over again.
As we start reading about our ancestors and the stories that brought them from being alone and struggling in finding Hashem, and the right way of life, to eventually becoming a huge Nation of Am Yisrael, we get direction. Every person relates differently to each character in the stories from our forefather Abraham Avinu, through Moshe Rabbeinu, who eventually redeemed the people of Israel from Egypt. These stores are not just told over and over again each year in some chronological order. We read them and learn them, to make order in our lives.
We start over again each year since this guides us in the best way possible. We look ahead to the beginning of winter with a lot of work ahead of us; new schools, new jobs, new apartments. As a beginning we need a lot of strength. A routine is a hard thing to come by and we need a lot of strength to get through it, in the right way, always becoming closer to Hashem.
If we take these weekly portions of the Torah and relate the story directly to our daily lives, we will see how each holy figure we read about, we can find deeply within ourselves. This revelation will help guide us and embrace us with a lot of love and support. Therefore, by reading each portion of the Torah we are constantly reminded of who we are and where we need to go.
We are constantly getting support and love from these holy family figures, and we are constantly getting direction into which way to go and what to do next. As we meet Abraham Avinu this week, this gives us strength to know that we can affect all nations throughout the world with one of our actions. As small as we are, we are great, and we are all heroes.
We all have so many challenges. But let us be reminded that we are never alone. Hashem is always with us. Listen to your hearts and that will guide us in the way of our ancestors and family members that have been there before, done it before, and have already paved the way for us without us even knowing. Look back, look ahead, and stand strong where you are holding today.
May we all go into this beautiful year and see the full Redemption like our forefathers so many thousands of years ago. They believed that there was a purpose for everything they were doing, glorifying Hashem’s name. I’m going in his way no matter what comes my way.
I can relate very much with our ancestors Abraham and Sarah, who were the first people to bring other people close to Hashem. I live in a neighborhood in Jerusalem where there are many wonderful people from all over the world who want to come close to Hashem. Sometimes I have five or six countries around my table of women, who found Hashem and chose to become Jewish. I feel honored to be associated with Sarah who did this job with all her heart. My husband obviously brings the men close as well.
This week when we meet Abraham and Sarah is also the week that I have the honor of hosting a Shabbat Kallah for a giyoret (convert) and many women who are in the process of conversion. I truly feel like a daughter of our Mother Sarah.