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The End and The Beginning

01/05/2023 12:31:37 PM


Rabbi Kelly Levy

Happy 2023! We are nearly one week into the new year, and I can feel a buzz of excitement in the air. People are ready for something different, something fresh, something new. Of course, many have made resolutions and commitments for the year to come or turned over a new leaf for a fresh start. But, just as we begin something new, we recognize that something else had to end.

As we begin another lap around the sun, I can’t help but think about that we have also reached the end of the Book of Genesis yet again. This Shabbat, we read from Parashat Vayechi, the last portion of the first book of Torah. We conclude the story of Jacob and Joseph, as well as set the tone for the next four books, which includes the entire story of Moses.

The end of Genesis always feels somewhat bittersweet; I simultaneously love starting a new book and feel sadness in saying goodbye to our matriarchs and patriarchs.  While these stories are chalk-full of drama and excitement, they also portray some of the most challenging narratives in our tradition. The stories of our ancestors often provide lessons and guidance in life, although many of those are lessons in what NOT to do. 

I also recognize that the end of Genesis leads to the beginning of Moses' tale. We cannot begin the story of Moses until we've seen  the end of the previous book. We cannot connect the dots of how our people came to exist in Egypt and subsequently experience the joy of liberation and freedom without first knowing where we came from, how the story began and ended.

To quote one of my favorite songs from the late 1990's, "Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end" ('Closing Time' by Semisonic). From beginning to end to another beginning, we complete each year and cycle of life again and again. And every new beginning provides us with opportunities to start over, to move forward with different or sometimes better purpose, to make changes big and small.

What will you do with this new beginning? How will things change from the most recent ending? How can others support you on your journey?

Wishing you and your loved ones a blessed and healthy new year, a year filled with many moments of joy and happiness, and another complete circle around the sun.



Fri, April 19 2024 11 Nisan 5784