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As is usual and customary, the reading of the Torah concludes and is resumed again in an almost simultaneous fashion on the day of Simchat Torah. This juxtaposition of the readings is especially noticeable this year with the immediacy of Shabbat Bereshiith to Simchat Torah itself.

The Torah concludes with the lesson of the mortality and the eternity of the human being. The Torah itself finishes with the mortality of Moshe but it is a physical mortality. There is no greater testimony to the eternity of the human spirit than the Torah that Moshe bequeathed to us and to the world at large. And this is also the lesson taught to us by the opening narrative regarding the creation and development of human beings. 
The Torah tells us that we humans were and are invested with eternity, blown into our nostrils by God, so to speak, and endowed with enormous and gifted talents. But with all of this, our own mortality and the constant reminder of its fragile state of being would always limit us.  Humans are aware almost from the time of their birth of their mortality. 
Paradoxically, it is this very knowledge of our temporary status on earth that provides the fuel and the energy that drives the engines of human creativity and civilization. We are always in a hurry for we are aware that passing time is our mortal enemy. Both the end and the beginning of the Torah come to reinforce this message of the duality of human beings – eternal and temporary at one and the same time.  
The  Torah concludes with the blessings of Moshe to his beloved people, the children of Israel. Those blessings are very detailed, individual and personal. The Torah begins with God’s blessings to the human race, which are general and universal in nature. This teaches us that although all humans are basically alike and desire health, material success, family and community, comfort and security, each human being is particular, differently talented and motivated in his or her own private world.
Judaism recognizes and reconciles this community and individuality, which is the  basic cause of human tension and internal angst. Moshe taught us that we are to treasure our uniqueness as individuals and as a people. God, so to speak, taught us that each of us is part of a universal brotherhood, fashioned from the same mold, by the same Creator.
Seeing ourselves as being recipients of this gift of social and spiritual duality of identity and purpose is one of the main requirements of living a truly Jewish Torah life. That is why we treat the Torah readings as a seamless whole, really without beginning and end. It all flows together in the paradoxical condition of the human soul and its eternal search for a fairer society and a better world. The continuing, never ending cycle of the Torah itself is our greatest comfort.
Chag Sameach
Shabbat shalom  
Rabbi Berel Wein

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