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A New Beginning

09/29/2021 02:05:12 PM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

I’ve been spending time lately thinking about beginnings. In part it's because we started a New Year, and in part, it is because we’ve had just a stellar group of students begin the next phase of their lives having just become Bar and Bat Mitzvah. I find confirmation that my head is in the right place in our texts as well, for the Torah portion this week is Bereshit, the first portion in our Torah, signifying a new beginning of a Torah reading year.

Beginnings are points of transition and are, in many ways, rather fearful. We can look backwards, at routines we have developed and patterns of behavior we have honed, and find comfort in the familiar. But beginnings take us into the unknown, into the not “what we have become” but “who we are becoming.”

So many of us are striking out now on paths whose terrain is unfamiliar. Some are starting at a new school, some are starting new jobs, some have moved into a new home. Yet the beginnings don’t only come at these large points of demarcation; we can determine for ourselves that this is a time to begin anew. We can choose this month, or this weekend, or even this moment, as a new beginning. And while these points may not be the most comfortable, they are, ideally, nonetheless exciting. We craft this next beginning in our story, we determine the early plot points, we adjust the narrative. And while elements beyond our control will impact and influence us in ways we cannot imagine, we need not look to the end of this journey, but rather we set our sights on the first step, the first tiny step, into this beginning.

So whether large or small, identity-shifting or behavior-shifting or perspective-shifting, my hope and prayer is that we lean in to the new beginnings of this season. May we start a story that is fresh and filled with wonder. And may this year and this next step bring with it an abundance of blessing.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Brad Levenberg

Wed, December 1 2021 27 Kislev 5782