For it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life.
Great is Torah, for it gives life to those who practice it in this world, and in the World to Come. As the Scripture states, “For the words of the Torah are life to he who finds them, and a healing to all his flesh” (Proverbs 4:22)…, “She shall give to your head a garland of grace, a crown of glory she shall grant you” (4:9). 
Torah – G-d’s Word – not just to be read but embraced and lived out.
As we finish one Torah cycle and move into another, may we be reminded that Torah both starts and ends with gemilut hasadim, acts of loving kindness. In Genesis, G-d clothed the naked (3:21) and in Deuteronomy He buried the dead (34:6). The Rabbis also tell us that in the middle of Torah we see another act of loving kindness when G-d visited the sick (Genesis 18:1). 
Acts of loving kindness permeate G-d’s words and are at the very core of who He is. Made in His image, it should be at the very core of who we are also. Rabbi Shai Held tells us, “If we study Torah and it does not make us kinder and more able to be present in the face of sorrow and loss, then it is not Torah that we have learned.” 
As we finish one cycle and move into another, may the words of our lips and the work of our hands always, always, always be of loving kindness. May these Words of Life truly be alive and active – breathing life into our hearts and through us breathing hope and healing into the world.
Chazak, chazak, ve’nitchazek! Be strong, be strong and may we strengthen one another!
She is a tree of life to those who embrace her, and those who lay hold of her are blessed.
LET TORAH by Alden Solovy
Let Torah hold your moments
Carry your days,
Lift your years.
Let Torah fill your hands,
Nourish your breath,
Refresh your heart.
Let Torah sustain your words,
Enliven your deeds
Lead you home.
For Torah is in each life and each generation,
In the yearning for G-d and in G-d’s yearning for us,
The flow of secrets from Sinai,
Divine guidance and grace,
Calling out to you dear sisters and brothers:
‘Awake you slumberers!
Awake you who wander empty and lonely without wonder and awe.
Have you forgotten this precious gift?
Have you forsaken your past and your future?
Have you traded your birthright for empty promises?’
This, then, is G-d’s command:
Let Torah hold you,
Let Torah guide you into radiance and mystery.
Study and learn,
Question and seek,
Hear and grow,
Lifting your life in sacred service.
Let Torah be your breath and your heartbeat.
Blessed are You, Source of Torah.
© 2012 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.
* Photo Credit: Yoram Raanan, Tree of Light
** Photo Credit: shutterstock.com
1. Ethics of the Fathers 6:7
2. Sotah 14a
3. Rabbi Shai Held, The Heart of Torah Volume 2,297