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Tuesday, Tishrei 25, 5781 / October 13, 2020


Now that the High Holidays, Sukkot, Shmini Atzeret & Simchat Torah are behind us, we look forward to a year full of blessings, good health and happiness.


From Simchat Torah to the next Biblical festive holiday, which will be Pesach (Passover) will be the longest stretch between holidays.


On Simchat Torah, we completed the yearly Torah reading cycle. We also read a small portion from the beginning of the Torah, Parshat Breishis. This is in keeping with Jewish tradition that we never finish studying Torah.  We always start over again.  


This Shabbat, the first Shabbat after Simchat Torah, we start the new weekly Torah cycle with the reading of the first Parsha of the Torah - Parshat Breishis.  In honor of the Parsha, the Shabbat after Simchat Torah is called "Shabbat Breishis."


The last letter of the Torah, which we read on Simchat Torah, is a “Lamed.” The first letter of the Torah of Parshat Breishis, is a “Bet.” Together they spell the Hebrew word “Lev” – “Heart.” This teaches us that one must put one’s heart into studying Torah and not treat it superficially.


This week’s Parsha, and thus the Torah, begins with the word, Breishis, which starts with the letter "Bet," the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The Hebrew alphabet is unlike any other alphabet.  Each letter, the names of the letters, the graphic shape of the letters are all divinely ordained. 


Each of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet also has a numerical equivalent.  The Hebrew letters also allude to many hidden aspects of the Torah.


Each letter of the Torah is so important and precise that even when only one letter is missing or improperly written, or when an extra letter is added, it causes the entire Torah scroll, and all of it’s over 300,000 letters to become non-kosher. Even the "crowns" on top of the letters, as they appear in a Torah scroll, represent mystical secrets. 


The Torah is the most precious gift which G-d gave to the Jewish people.  Every morning we recite a special blessing,thanking G-d for giving us this great gift - the Torah.


Q.  Why does the Torah begin with the letter “Bet,” which is the second letter of the Hebrew Alpha-Bet and not “Aleph” – the first letter?


A.  Our sages explain that the reason the Torah and the story of creation begin with the letter "Bet" is because the word "Beracha" - "Blessing" begins with Bet. G-d began the Torah and the story of creation with the letter Bet to teach us that the Torah is the true source of blessing for creation.