For the fifth time at Mason, I have delivered a D’var Torah, an interpretation of the Torah, to the High Holidays congregation at the university Hillel service. This year I spoke on the eve of Rosh Hashanah and my topic, relevantly enough to this blog, was the power of storytelling and why it is important that we all do it. You can read the entire piece at my Nodality and I am excerpting a chunk here.
Tonight is the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, which literally translates to ‘head of the year.’ It’s the first day, One Tishrei, of the new Jewish Year 5772. The Rabbis teach us that Rosh Hashanah is the anniversary of the creation of man and woman.
Isn’t that sort of odd?
There were six days of creation (and one day of rest) in the first week of the world. We are not starting at the beginning of this biblical week, nor really at the end. Instead we start our calendar, and every new year, at the anniversary of day 6, the creation of man. Why day six? Is it because humanity might, perhaps, be a bit egotistical?
I think there is more to it then that.
Is there something else that makes day 6 special? In Genesis, chapter two, we receive the second version of the creation story. God has created Adam but, before creating Eve, Adonai has a task for the first man. God brings forth every beast and bird He has created and presents them to Adam. The Torah states that God “brought them to the man to see what he would call each one and whatever the man called each living creature, that remained its name.” (Verse 19).