My grandfather used to tell me with pride
How his parents came to Canada to reside.
It was very hard for them he would tell
And inside me a special pride would swell.
This was not just a story of a pioneer
My great-grandparents, who I never knew, I learned to revere
And to the building of Canada I could connect
Because my great-grandparents were part of the story and on me this had an effect.
So why have I told this to you?
What topic am I possibly going to pursue?
At the beginning of a new year
There are more important topics to pursue it is clear
But the truth is, that my introduction leads us to the topic at hand
That our family, even if we did not know them firsthand
Have an effect on how we think
Simply because of their special link.
Some relatives we will never consider a friend
And yet to them a special relationship we usually extend
For the simple reason that to us they have a special connection
And that gives them some sort of protection
Against their imperfection
And gives us some sort of caring injection.
Well, the characters in the book of Genesis are related to me and you.
And most importantly they started a special relationship with God that continues today to every Jew.
Today I will probably not tell you anything new
But I do hope to give more perspective to you.
Or at least to sharpen your mind
So that while reading the book of Genesis more connections to our people and our nation you will find.
It is easy to look at Genesis as a book of stories and events that are told
About creation, Adam & Eve, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, Rachel & Leah and their children; including how Josef was sold.
But the book of Genesis is so much more
So, I want to point out some things to look for.
Yad Vashem used to tell the story of the Holocaust as a whole
But they found that people related better when told stories about just one soul
So they started a campaign telling stories about one person at a time
And people began to better understand the full impact of the crime.
This same technique was used in the Torah so many years ago
Carefully introducing us to a special family that did grow.
But this was not just any family of which we are told.
This is the story of our family which does unfold.
Just as I understand why to Canada my family came
And their pioneering adventure I like as my own to claim
The book of Genesis is the story of my family, too.
These are not just stories which are easy with our children and grandchildren to review.
They may be simple and easy to understand
But there is so much more which they command.
These are the stories which explain
Our connection to God and why everything is under His domain.
As well they give us the foundation
Of us as a people and a nation.
These stories are not abstract
And with each other they are meant to interact.
From them there is much which we are to extract
And finally upon us they should make an impact
For these are the stories of our family from long ago.
No matter how far in the past, this is our history, and it we should know.
Would you send a child to the first grade
If they did not master basic numbers, colors and shapes without aid?
Would you begin to play a game
If you had no idea of the aim?
Likewise, in religion there are things that we need to know
Before we can understand the basics and begin in our knowledge and spirituality to grow.
In the book of Genesis many of these things are contained
The significance of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob the book does convey
And why they are still meaningful to us today.
It is not just to the individual stories that we should relate
But also how these events did create
Between us and God a bond
To which God continues to respond.
So we should take a better look
In this book
And look carefully at our foundations
And at God's expectations.
We claim to be not only the physical family of our forefathers in our prayers
But also their spiritual heirs.
So we should read the book of Genesis in this vain
Not just reading stories, but delving into our beginnings as a people and a nation, so that a deeper insight we gain.
As Genesis sets the foundation
Of us as a people and a nation.
Marcia Goldlist is a regular contributor of blog postings on Jewish Values Online. She was the author of one of the blog postings selected for the Second Quarter 5779 Jewish Values Online Best Blogs.
Please note: All opinions expressed in Blog Postings and comments on the Jewish Values Online site and through Jewish Values Online are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views, thoughts, beliefs, or position of Jewish Values Online, or those associated with it.
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