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This week's parasha, Bereshit, recounts the incredible tale of the creation of the world. After the Jewish holidays of Tishrei, which include Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), as well as Simchat Torah, which celebrates the cycle of the reading of the Torah, we dive back into the weekly parasha. 

In this parasha, G-d creates the world in six days. On the first day, G-d makes darkness and light. On the second, the heavens are formed. The division between land and sea is made on the third, along with the formations of trees and greenery on Earth. On the fourth day, G-d fixes the sun, moon and stars as our timekeepers. On the fifth, fish, birds and reptiles are created. And finally, on the sixth day, land animals and humans, Adam and Eve, the first man and woman are created. On the seventh day, G-d rests, thus explaining why we have shabbat. 

Adam and Eve are placed in the Garden of Eden and are told not to eat from the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”. However, we know that eventually, they do and in due time, suffer great consequences. As a result, they are banished from the Garden of Eden and condemned to a life of struggle in which they must work in order to gain. After working for their livelihood, they would in the end, face death. And so it was upon this that the cycle of life was formed. 

This parasha, being the Torah’s most famous portion, teaches us to follow and obey rules and maintain self-restraint in a world full of dangerous temptations. Whilst this story is told as a cautionary tale and can be seen to represent the failure of the human mind, its sole purpose, which we must not forget, is to entail the creation of the world and reasoning behind it. G-d has given us life and a beautiful home to live in for a reason. He has created an unfinished world and given us the privilege and responsibility to embrace and finish it with our good will. And with that we must take the responsibility to respect each individual and share love and care. 

In our current time, where the world faces global pandemic, we must, as human beings, take upon ourselves the responsibility to work together and respect each other and abide by the rules in order to prevent further spread, for the safety of ourselves and for everyone around us. We must take the cautionary steps in order to protect each other, disregarding the dangerous temptations around us. It is our duty to wear masks, remain at certain distances and respect restrictions in order to prevent the worsening of the virus. G-d has given us planet earth to not only live in, but to love and care for, so it too can live a long and healthy life. It is our duty to care for the planet and the people within it in order to permit the continuation of life for the many generations to come. 

Shabbat Shalom!

Sophie, Grade 11