Parshat Bereishit: Let There Be Light

October 13, 2023
BBYO Weekly Parsha


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On Saturday a lot of Jewish communities faced a difficult choice. Do we host services knowing what's happening? Will the youth program continue? My synagogue decided that with a more strict security detail, they were going to host services in honor of those who fell defending our homeland because we fight terror by continuing with our millenary traditions.

As we have been doing for thousands of years, this week we start a new cycle of Torah reading with Bereishit, the first words of our holy book. In this text appear some of the most well known stories, like the garden of Eden and Cain and Abel, but maybe the most known is the history of how our world was created, “וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֖ים יְהִ֣י א֑וֹר וַֽיְהִי־אֽוֹר׃ וַיַּ֧רְא אֱלֹהִ֛ים אֶת־הָא֖וֹר כִּי־ט֑וֹב וַיַּבְדֵּ֣ל אֱלֹהִ֔ים בֵּ֥ין הָא֖וֹר וּבֵ֥ין הַחֹֽשֶׁךְ׃”. G-d said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. G-d saw that the light was good, and G-d separated the light from the darkness.” We live in times filled with darkness, filled with atrocious videos and information that worry us but we can bring light into the world. However, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi once said, “A little bit of light dispels a lot of darkness”. We know that there are many different ways of bringing light into this world. The Jewish community must take action today to shape a better tomorrow. We must bring light into the world, even if it is just a little.  

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks mentions that “Every age has added its commentaries, and so must ours.” Too often the youth are reminded that we are not old enough to have an opinion, but our BBYO community shows us that not only are we old enough to enact change but it's proven we can. If you don't believe it, look at the articles on our page, at the fundraisers we started, and at the actions in our home communities that changed lives. Never think your opinion or actions don't have consequences; it's up to us to shape the beginning of tomorrow.   

As we start a new cycle of Torah reading, take a moment and think about what we can start to not only help yourself, or your local community but also the Jewish people. It might seem like a herculean task but if I know one thing is that we hold an unimaginable power, one that resides inside you, waiting to be used to create the light that we so desperately need in these dark times.

Shabbat Shalom,

Gal Rubel, BBYO Argentina

Read commentary on this week's Parsha from BBYO teens around the world.

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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