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Journeys; The First Step

This is Simcha Weinberg for the BNN (Biblical New Network) Festival book review. (Dedicated in honor of MJ, AC)


We have been on a journey since Rosh Hashana:


We have discovered the “Meeting Place Between Knowledge and Imagination,”


We have studied “Gaps In The Clouds,”


Found “A Kedem Compass,”


Uncovered, “Maps of My Planet.”

We have been on a journey.



We continue to journey:

In this Festival of Succot when we continue our journey by leaving our homes, recreating the travels of Abraham (Ginzei Chag HaSuccot, Chapter 5),


Move into Succot connecting us to Moses’ Cleft of the Rock (Exodus 33:22),

and Elijah’s Cave on the Mountain (I Kings 19:9),



When we study the final scene in Moses’ life and reconnect with his ‘imaginary’ walk across Time and the the Land of Israel (Deuteronomy 34:1-3, Rashi),


When we travel back to the beginning of the Torah and

Journey with Adam Into the Garden (Genesis 2:8 & 15),

Accompany him on his first steps out (3:23-24),

Wander with Cain, the exiled wanderer (4:14),

Admire Enoch, the Original Sky-Walker (sorry Luke), [5:24],

Temporarily move in with Noah as he uses a temporary world (with a Light in the roof, 6:16) to move from one world to another, recreate his clouds (9:14) with our Cloud Booths (Succah 11b),

Escort Nimrod as he moves away from destructive influences (Genesis 10:11, Rashi)…


Journey with Jacob to his Succot (33:17), down to Egypt and then join his descendants on their forty-year journey…


The BNN Festival of Books, also known as Simchat Torah, would like to comment on a series of books about Journeys, Mountain Climbing, and Paths:


Robert Macfarlane’s “The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot,” “Mountains of the Mind: Adventures in Reaching The Summit,” and, “The Wild Places (Landscapes)”.



Macfarlane begins his luminous “The Old Ways,” with, “the relationship between paths, walking and the imagination is its subject…”


He had me there. I relate to Torah, its paths – “derech”, walking – “Halacha”, and imagination – “Oral Law”, as a unified approach.


I admit that, believe it or not, I already know Macfarlane from Shul!


“A Tibetan Buddhist text from around 600 years ago uses the word shul to mean ‘a mark that remains after that which has made it has passed by’ – footprints are shul, a path is shul, and such impressions draw one backwards into awareness of past events (page 28).”


Prayer is a journey from us to Heaven and from Heaven to Heaven: The Steps of the Siddur – Journey Organizer – take us through all the levels of Creation:


From Assiyah – to make – Morning Blessings and Offerings

To Yetzirah – to form – Pesukei d’Zimrah

To Beriah – to create – Shemah  and her blessings

To Atzilut – To Emanate – Amidah


We journey through time even within a single prayer:

“And load us up God, our Lord, with the blessing of Your appointed seasons for life and peace, for joy and for happiness, as You desired; and You promised to bless us…”

We reach back to the original expression of the Infinite Will. The opening moment of Creation, and then move forward again to the first promise, “And the Lord said, ‘Let there be light!’”


This entire journey began on Rosh Hashana with a Footstep, and the marks we impressed on our paths through the past year:


Ralph Waldo Emerson: All things are engaged in writing their history…Not a foot steps into the snow, or along the ground, but prints in characters more or less lasting, a map of its march. The ground is all memoranda and signatures; and every object covered over with hints. In nature, this self-registration is incessant, and the narrative is the print of the seal.

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