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Four Blank Lines

This Shabbat we read the end of Sefer Bereshit (Genesis), and next week we being Sefer Shemot (Exodus). Bereshit ends with Jacob’s and Joseph’s deaths. The Israelites are in Egypt, having come to live there while famine is going on. They live in Goshen and appear to be treated well. The Egyptians know that it was Joseph who saved them from starvation. Then the book of Exodus begins and there’s a new Pharaoh who enslaves the Israelites. And the question we ask is – what happened?

In the Torah scroll, the transition from Genesis to Exodus is indicated by four blank lines. And I suppose it is left up to us to try to figure out what happened in the story during those four blank lines, since it isn’t described for us.

In our own lives, the students, parents of students, and teachers among us are now beginning their period of ‘four blank lines’. The rest of us also go through periods of ‘blank line’ transitions. These ‘blank lines’ often shape our futures much more than the ‘printed lines’ do, and it’s up to us to use this transition time productively to both store up physical strength and to reassess, reaffirm and update our goals for the future.

I wish you all an enjoyable and productive break and look forward to seeing you all reinvigorated. And remember – prayer services continue as usual throughout. Shabbat Shalom and Choref Tov.