A school principal stood in front of the parents at the start of the year and said, “Much have I learned from my masters, even more from my colleagues, umiltalmidai yoter mikulam, and from my students more than from all.” Rabbi Bernard Berzon, who preached from the same pulpit for 39 years, explained that the Torah is not an aspirin tablet or a sleeping pill, rather it must be a living document that guides our everyday living, and that disturbs the peace when necessary. Yet, do we make time to open the book, to read it again and again?
Our Rabbis call one who studies Torah regularly kovea ittim laTorah, one who appoints or steals time for Torah. We steal time for our jobs and for the gym, but for this important spiritual exercise, all we need to do is open the book. As we know, hatchalot kashot, beginnings are always the most difficult piece of the marathon.
The Torah begins not with an aleph but a bet, the second letter of the alphabet, telling us there is no beginning and no end to our wisdom. When we wake up to experience God’s creation, we begin again, importing our life’s lessons into the framework of the Torah, while exporting the Torah’s lessons into our everyday.