Vezot Ha-Berakhah: Something to Notice

…and for all the great might and awesome power that Moses displayed before all Israel. [yisrael]
[b‘reishit] When God was about to create…

Deuteronomy/Devarim 34:12, Breishit/Genesis 1:1 (TWC translation)*

Something to notice here is the lamed at the end of “yisrael” and the bet at the start of “b’reishit.” With each reading cycle, we stretch the lamed at the end of the scroll around to meet the bet that leads it off, yielding the word “lev” [heart].

I’ve heard, although I can’t say where, that true Torah begins and ends in the heart or that readers must approach Torah with all their hearts. Some quote the prophet Jeremiah and note that Torah will be written on our hearts — or is already there: “I will put my Torah in their minds, and write it in their hearts,” (Jer. 31:32).

The Torah cycle has also been likened to a wedding ring, binding the people to its Author, and described as the link that brings the spiritual into the material world.

*David E. S. Stein updated the Plaut/JPS translation for the Union of Reform Judaism’s 2005 The Torah: A Modern Commentary. The Torah: A Women’s Commentary, “TWC,” published in 2008, adapts the “Plaut/Stein” translation. However, it should be noted that Chaim Stern (z”l) updated the translation for Genesis. For more thorough citations, please see Source Materials.

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Virginia hosts "Conversations Toward Repair" on We Act Radio, manages, blogs on general stuff a and more Jewish topics at and

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