Today is the day where we get to read the parsha where it all began. The days leading into this one have been a rollercoaster of emotions. Coincidentally, the rollercoaster started with Rosh Hashanah. On this High Holiday, a lot happens emotionally. However, as adolescents we are told that this is the time where Hashem is judging your every move, and preparing your next ones. This can encourage concern to pump through the veins. Ten days later on Yom Kippur, all that Hashem has prepared for you officially gets sealed. Grand decisions for your upcoming year has been finalized. This can cause a great amount of anxiety. Looking back, for the past few days, our emotions have been shaking with heavy hearts. However, following that holiday, we have the festival of Sukkot! This is the holiday where we are commanded to rejoice in happiness! Smile, laugh, and enjoy the upcoming year! As of right now, our emotions have gone from anxious fear to skyrocketing into a high.
It’s interesting to see that by now, we have become parallel to this week’s torah portion. You see, after all of these holidays, we have experienced our two highlight emotions: sadness and happiness. We have seen two very different sides to ourselves in the span of just two weeks. This was our moment where we saw ourselves in the negative light. We saw all of the evil we have done or thought about doing. We also saw ourselves in a hopeful light. Who we want to be and what we want to become.
Parshat Bereishit is the parsha read after all the celebration is over. This is the parsha that explains how the world was created. The steps and thought process of how Hashem wanted the world to become. It’s the beginning.
Here we now have the beginning to achieve the goals we have for ourselves. To reflect on our negative light and beam our hopeful one. It’s the beginning of our lives. We have the power to not only change who we are, but the environment around us. We have the power to change the people around us. We have a lot of power that we tend to forget.
When Hashem was creating the world, He specifically gave humans that conscious ability. And so it says, “G d placed all the creatures of the earth and the powers of nature in the control of the human”. Yes, animals have an incredible ability to change the world. Wolves, elephants, whales, they all have a tremendous niche in the cycle and health of world but they don’t consciously decide to keep the cycle running. They have an instinct that they abide to. Humans on the other hand, we have a decision. We have free will. Hashem has placed this tremendous level of power in our hands, and unfortunately we abuse our gift. We choose if we want to litter or recycle. If we want to be selfish or selfless. If we want to raise a hand against a brother or lower the hand to help a brother.
Much like this Torah portion and the time of year, we have have the chance to start from the beginning. To take advantage of the ability that Hashem gave us. To recognize the power we have. Once we fully realize that we really do have the power to change the world, only then will we be able to create that world we want.
Student studying in Machon Maayan