G-d is not the subject of beginning, rather beginning is subject to G-d.
“Chazak chazak v’nitchazek!”--“Be strong, be strong and may we be strengthened!”
This is the faithful cry of G-d’s people as we seek strength in Him at the end of the Torah cycle.
In a life devoid of G-d, things are never complete, even death—which we say, “is final”—is in a G-dless reality, nothing more than an unfinished life: for those of us who are honest this leaves a less than final taste in the mouths of our souls. But in a life that acknowledges G-d’s Kingship over all things, the incomplete becomes complete through faith, in G-d’s eternal perspective. What we see as incomplete, He sees completed in Yeshua the Messiah.
We begin Simchat Torah by ending the Torah cycle, but, like G-d, a circle has no beginning or end and so we end by beginning a new Torah cycle. It is appropriate that we begin with G-d. G-d is not the subject of beginning, rather beginning is subject to G-d:
“Bereshit bara Elohim…” Bereshit 1:1
“In the Beginning God…”
Now let’s add the Midrash of Yeshua’s talmid—disciple—Yochanan to our beginning, remembering that the Word is not the subject of beginning, rather beginning is subject to the Word:
“Bereshit haya ha-d’var…” Yochanan 1:1
“In the beginning was the Word…”
Of all the reasons for rejoicing at the closing of this season of Z’man Simchataynu—Time of great rejoicing—the greatest reason of all is Yeshua—Jesus—G-d with us. When we celebrate the written word of G-d—the Torah—with great rejoicing, we are celebrating a kinetic metaphor representing the meta-physical reality of G-d with us—Yeshua. I say meta-physical because He—The Word—is both physically real and spiritually tangible in our worship, though we cannot see Him. He, “Was, is and is to come.”
We have called the Torah “Instruction,” and rightly so. Yeshua is our instruction, our guide, and our ever present help in time of struggle. We have called the Torah “Law,” this is also accurate, for to those who reject Messiah, He is seen as the image of punitive Law—though it is their clouded lense, and not His reality that they gain this impression. Some have called the Torah “the fallible writings of men,” mistakenly thinking that this nullifies the reality of G-d. In fact it is the ability of G-d to express His word through fallible human beings that is the greater truth. Yeshua—G-d with us, the Word—born of a woman, lived a sinless life: surely this is best articulated in metaphor by the psalmist, “I speak of the things I have made touching the King, my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.”(Psalm 45:1) The tool is subject to the hand of the artist.
In celebrating Simchat Torah we circle the Torah, taking turns to hold the Scriptures in our arms, seven times we circle the Synagogue filled with joy, Adults and children alike. We open it out amongst us, each playing a part in passing on its truth. Isn’t it Yeshua who is among us? Isn’t it He who imparts truth to and through us? We are united by the Torah, Yeshua unites us. We are delighted by the Torah, Yeshua delights us. We are disciplined by the Torah, Yeshua disciplines the ones He loves. We are kept safe by the Torah, Yeshua encamps around us with absolute fidelity. Concerning the Torah, our prayer book says, “It is a tree of life to those who take hold of it, and all its ways are peace…” Yeshua has come to give us life and life in all fullness, He is Sar Shalom, the Prince of Peace. Please, wrap me in the Torah and I will sleep like a baby until Yeshua returns.
© 2013 Yaakov Brown
Spiritual leader of Beth Melekh Community, Auckland, Aotearoa, N.Z.