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Dvar Torah Shabbat Shemini Atzeret

As we reach the end of the Torah, in a very different year, we again see the beauty of our tradition. It is a truism that we incorporate all of our experiences into our identities, and they will then come to inform our perspectives about other issues and how we read texts. This is true for the Torah as well.

When we read the Torah, we bring our own lenses, our own perspectives to bear on it. Our interpretation of it changes to match our new times, our new thoughts. This might seem like a flaw in the system, something which betrays the truth of the Torah. It is not. It is this beautiful adaptability which has enabled the Torah, and our people, to survive for thousands of years. Our new readings inspire us, and in turn, contribute again to the growth of the Torah as a whole and to its ability to change, grow, and adapt with the Jewish people. And when the Torah is changing in this way, it helps us navigate the times in which we find ourselves, however strange.

As we begin the Torah again, as we read it anew, but with the experiences of such a different year behind us, may we all continue to find the beauty in it which has helped us overcome all of our difficulties this year.

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