In the Very Beginning

Yael Eckstein  |  October 12, 2020

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. — Genesis 1:1

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy, and this week we begin again with the Torah portion B’reisheet, which means “in the beginning,” from Genesis 1:1—6:8.

Recently, I was reading a news article about an archeological discovery near the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. Archeologists determined the site to be a massive government complex used by the Kingdom of Judea during the times of King Hezekiah and King Manasseh.

As I shared these incredible findings with my children, my daughter asked, “How can anyone say that the Jewish people do not belong in Israel?” I did my best to answer her and told her that the more important thing is that we know the truth — we know that we belong in Israel and we will never abandon our homeland.

This week, Jewish communities around the world will begin the annual Torah reading cycle, which begins with the first few chapters of Genesis and goes through the Five Books of Moses.

As we all know, the Bible begins with an account of Creation. While it may seem natural to start the Bible this way, the Jewish sages suggested that the story of Creation seems out of place.

The Bible is not a history book or a storybook, but a guide to our lives. As a manual for living, it might have made more sense for the Bible to begin with the Ten Commandments or with a story that teaches us an important lesson. But if God chose to begin the Bible with Creation, there is most definitely a good reason why He did so.

Hundreds of years ago, the sages predicted that one day the world would accuse the Jewish people of stealing the land of Israel and claim that they had no right to live there. They explained that God began the Bible with Creation to demonstrate that as the Creator of the world, only God can determine who the land belongs to, and as the Bible affirms repeatedly, God gave it to the nation of Israel as an everlasting possession.

Right from the very beginning, God offered people of faith a message for the critical moments at the end of time — to be strong and unwavering in our support of Israel. No matter what the world may say, the only words that matter are God’s words. So, stand proud with Israel and stand by the Word of God.

Your turn:

Do you stand with Israel? In the comments below, share your prayer for the state of Israel and the Jewish people.

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