Last week in Shul (Synagogue), I listened to the Torah Reading.
At its' conclusion, before the Torah Scroll was rolled back up and closed, I
dared to peek into the men's section. There I was witness to a glorious scene. A
Jewish Painting -live.
The Rabbi stood, firmly grasping the wooden rollers of the open Torah.
Raising it high in the air, with his hands spread apart, he slowly turned his
body, and with it the Torah, slightly to the right, then to the left, so
everyone present could see the text.
As the Torah raised so did the
congregation, all eyes on the Torah as together we pronounced aloud:
And This is the Torah that Moses placed before the Children of Israel. It is a
tree of life for those who hold fast to it, and those who support it are
fortunate. Its ways are pleasant ways, and all its paths are peace......"
He then placed the open Torah back onto the bimah (podium) and
rolled it closed.
I whispered to the woman who shared that view with
"Does he feel anything? Does he realize he is holding the entire Torah?
Is he in awe, as I am?" I would tremble at the proximity to such holiness.
She gave me a knowing smile as she explained: To assure that the Torah would
be well received and perpetuated, G-d told Moses to first address the women:
"Say to the House of Jacob" (referring to the women) and only
afterwards, "Tell the sons of Israel" (referring to the men).
was Ladies First", she said, "Perhaps due to our heightened sensitivity, or
And, although excused from some Mitzvot, Torah knowledge is also
obligatory for women, so they learn to know how to fulfill the Mitzvot
and live a full Jewish life.
It is the woman who influences her home and environment. It is the mother who
primarily instills values in her children, encourages her husband to observe and
study Torah, and affects others through her hospitality, warmth and teaching.
My mind wandered to Shavuos, the holiday when we actually
received the Torah and I visualized the scene in the desert at Mount Sinai:
Thunder. Lighting. ALL, all the Jews. At the foot of a smoking, trembling
mountain. The blast of a Shofar. G-d's revelation! The Ten Commandments.
They were returning the Torah to the Ark.
"His radiance is upon the earth and heavens. He shall raise the glory of
His people...... the children of Israel, the people close to Him. Praise the
We remained standing till the Ark was closed.
soaked in the scene, my mind ablaze and my heart aroused. This is real. This is
not a painting. This is alive. This is the Torah that G-d gave to me - first. It
is my obligation to have it radiate into my life more brightly. It is my
privilege to make my home a joyful dwelling place for G-d.
I thank G-d
who made me a woman. I am the center of my home. The center of the continuity of
the world. I am the mother of all creation.
I walked home from Shul with
pride in my stride and head held high - I'm on a mission.