Parashat Va-Yelekh-Shabbat Shuvah 5766/ October 8, 2005
Lectures on the weekly Torah reading by the faculty of
Greetings from the President of the University to the Weekly Torah Study Page
Prof. Moshe Kaveh
The life of a Jew moves cyclically, one year coming after another in eternal succession. The verse, “It is a land which the Lord your G-d looks after, on which the Lord your G-d always keeps His eye, from year’s beginning to year’s end” (Deut. 11:12), has been interpreted by Rabbi Isaac as follows: “Every year that is poor (Heb.: rash, “poor”, a play on the word me-reshit, “beginning”) at the beginning, become rich at the end, as it is said: “me-reshit ha-Shanah – from year’s beginning – with this spelling [lacking an aleph after the resh, hence spelled the same as rash would be], ve-ad aharit-- until the end which carries hope [taking aharit as aharit ve-tiqva, “a hopeful future” cf. Jer.29:11]” (Rosh ha-Shanah 16b).
As we look to the New Year which lies ahead for the better,
we can take pride in the fact that in the past year we have enriched ourselves in
Torah and in Spirit, in knowledge and education.
On the eve of Rosh ha-
Shanah 5766, I would like to extend wishes for good health and
well-being to all the faculty members of the University who over the course of
the year gave of their wisdom and knowledge, contributing fascinating articles
to the Weekly Torah Studies on the Parasha and Jewish
festivals. I would
also like to extend my best wishes to the editors, Rahel
Ha-Cohen for the Hebrew version and Dr. Isaac Gottlieb for the English edition,
and to the sponsors of the Weekly Torah Studies:
the Faculty of Jewish Studies, the
Office the Campus Rabbi, and the
The Weekly Torah Studies of Bar-Ilan University are a true reflection of the special relationship between Torah and science with which our institution is blessed. The University’s researchers integrate Jewish heritage and values with their store of knowledge in the humanities, life sciences, and exact sciences, placing an emphasis on new insights into the weekly Torah portion, which are both scientific and learned in the Jewish sense.
In these times of great confusion following the disengagement, with the religious-Zionist camp torn between a handful of rabbis who, in protesting against the State, challenge the very capability of this camp to bridge between religion and democracy, and other rabbis who are attempting to rehabilitate this camp, Bar-Ilan University must take on itself the responsible role of being a “guide to the perplexed”. Today, more than ever, the University must see to it that a larger amount of the Zionist-religious community comes within its gates. The importance of the University to the State of Israel and the entire Jewish people is greater today than ever before. In these times of polarization and divisiveness, opposing views and differences of opinion, the University provides a rare example of cooperation, mutual respect and tolerance among all factions of the people.
We are pleased that our message appears to speak to more and more Israelis. Over the past decade Bar-Ilan has doubled its student body as well as its physical area and has become the largest academic community in the country. Tens of thousands of our alumni are the best proof of our unique blend of religion and tradition, progress and science. Many fine people have contributed to our impressive accomplishments in the fifty years of our existence – the academic faculty and administration, the students, the Board of Trustees, as well as friends and dedicated patrons throughout the world.
At the most recent session of the Board of Trustees, Bar- Ilan University announced the publication of two anthologies of selected articles that appeared in the Weekly Torah Studies: Mi-Perot ha-Ilan, and its English translation, Professors on the Parasha. I note with satisfaction that many of the articles included in these two volumes, currently available, address values that deserve to be at the head of our priorities in the body-politic of Israel today – proper interpersonal relations, charity, the war on poverty, concern for the underprivileged and relating to the “other” out of a deep sense of love for one’s fellow human being. I am convinced that these articles will make a significant contribution to strengthening the integration of the world of Torah and of science.
I hope and pray that in the coming year we shall be blessed with the ability to continue spreading Torah to the public at large.
With best wishes for a ketivah ve-hatimah tovah, may we all be inscribed in the Book of Life.
Prof. Moshe Kaveh