• Jodi Samuels

Creation


Our Chinese guests are always the most fascinated with the idea of Shabbat. They want to know - do we have a day of rest to improve productivity? Or do we have our kids stand up and speak publicly to groom them for public speaking? Or do we just learn Torah to make us smarter? We host many different groups and individuals from many backgrounds, cultures, and religions at our Shabbat table. Guests who come from non-Jewish backgrounds – or even many Jewish guests who haven’t really been exposed to Shabbat – have the opportunity to partake in a real Shabbat experience, while we get to travel in our living room as we meet people from different nationalities and religions, across the political spectrum. There is no better way to build bridges and make friends than sharing a meal! This week’s Torah Portion is Bereshit - it’s the story of creation. As we go through the days of the week, we learn that on the 6th day, G-d made man the pinnacle of creation. The next day, day 7, G-d ended his active creation, and He rested. As simple as it sounds, we have so much to learn from this short introduction to Creation. Many commentators suggest Man was made last to teach humility. When Man entered the world it was already made, establishing God as its creator. Man was given intellect and free choice - the ability to be a partner in creation. Shabbat is our weekly reminder that G-d created the world. When we recite Kiddush on Friday night, we testify to God’s existence and His sovereignty over all things, explicitly mentioning His “Acts of Creation”. From the biblical command given on Mount Sinai through the present day, centuries of an unbroken tradition of the Jewish people keeping Shabbat represent a thread through history and point to G-d’s everlasting covenant and principles. May we learn from Shabbat to stop what’s urgent for what’s important - taking a step back from our creative process by pausing from working and doing while recognizing our place in this world with humility and gratitude. Shabbat Shalom