For this year’s E-Torah cycle, we will approach the weekly portion as a springboard for a learning conversation. Each week will offer a brief commentary, followed by a prompt for discussion, which you can do with a family member or a friend—or on your own as a sort of internal dialogue/reflection.
This week we conclude the Torah, and immediately begin anew.
Deuteronomy ends with the death of Moses, for whom the people grieved for thirty days. We read that never again did there arise a prophet like him, “who God knew, face to face.” Then, without missing a beat, we open Genesis and affirm: “In the beginning, God created. . .”
What is the connection between these most famous of endings and beginnings? Ecclesiastes teaches that “there is a time for birth and a time for death.” But more often than not, those times overlap significantly. All new beginnings include loss, the letting go of what was. Each birth is also a little death. Each death makes room for new life.
Moses dies—and then the world is born again.
In this season so full of losses, what are you mourning? What opportunities do you see for new life? Or, if the grief is too immediate and intense, what sustains you from moment to moment?