D’var Torah for Parshat Bereshit 5782 (תשפ״ב)
By Branden Johnson, Program Director
In the opening verses of the first book and reading of the Torah, Bereshit, we learn about the order of Creation. Along the way, we are told that God looks upon His works and sees that they were good. In Bereshit 1:12, it says:
“וַתּוֹצֵ֨א הָאָ֜רֶץ דֶּ֠שֶׁא עֵ֣שֶׂב מַזְרִ֤יעַ זֶ֙רַע֙ לְמִינֵ֔הוּ וְעֵ֧ץ עֹֽשֶׂה־פְּרִ֛י אֲשֶׁ֥ר זַרְעוֹ־ב֖וֹ לְמִינֵ֑הוּ וַיַּ֥רְא
The earth brought forth vegetation: seed-bearing plants of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that this was good.”
It’s no coincidence that we read these verses at this time of year, when, walking through the streets of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, we can see so many of these fruit- and seed-bearing plants and trees offering their abundance. The pomegranates, heavy with juice, gently pulling their branches toward the earth. Fallen figs scattered along the sidewalk. It’s my favorite time of year here.
Sometimes it can seem to us like the world is a dark and dangerous place. The last 18 months, especially, have been incredibly challenging for everyone. But if we can take a moment to stop and appreciate the natural beauty of the world around us, we, like God, can look upon His works and say, “It is good”.
I like to say that I have three homes: Eugene, Oregon, where I grew up; Tel Aviv, where I live; and Ramah Galim, where I work. After two years away from my third home – far too long to be away – I am so excited to be returning to camp. I can’t wait to see you all again on the Bay next summer. It will be great!