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Rejoicing in reading the Torah - again

Wed, 09/25/2013 - 12:00am -- Rabbi

On Simhat Torah, we rejoice in having finished reading through the Torah, week by week, portion by portion - and then we immediately start again at the very beginning.  Even the fact that the Torah is rolled on scrolls suggests that Torah is a wheel.  We complete one circuit only to begin again.  So why rejoice?  Haven't we heard all of these stories and teachings before?  The secret of rejoicing in re-reading the Torah each year is that the path we are following is not a circle but a spiral.  With each passing  
year, with each experience of reading, considering, thinking about, and even arguing about these ancient words, we grow in our ability to understand and to put into practice in our lives the wisdom of ages past that is captured in Torah.  Our insight grows keener, our vision becomes clearer, and our questions get deeper.  We see on each pass where we have gone before, and we can mark the distance we have come.  And we see ahead of us more learning and more growth, spiraling ahead of us through all of the years that we may be blessed to study and to enjoy these sacred stories.  Surely, this is reason to rejoice!  May we all have much joy in reading and re-reading Torah in this new year.