For the week of October 13, 2001 / 26 Tishri 5762
Torah: Bereshit / Genesis 1:1 - 6:8
Haftarah: Isaiah 42:5 - 43:11

Anyone Need Some Help?

I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior (Isaiah 43:11).

As the annual reading cycle begins again for another year, TorahBytes will be looking at the Haftarah portions. It has been two years since we have done this. The Haftarah is portions of writings from the Prophets that is read in the synagogue each Shabbat following the weekly Torah portion. There are traditional Haftarah portions associated with each Torah portion and special ones for holy days.

If you are interested in further discussion based on a particular week's Torah or Haftarah reading, you can have a look at previous year's TorahBytes in the archive.

As this week marks the beginning of the yearly reading cycle, the Torah reminds us that God is the creator of all things (Bereshit / Genesis 1:1ff). In our Haftarah portion the prophet Isaiah refers to God as creator for the basis of his message

This is what God the LORD says - he who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it (Isaiah 42:5).

That God created the universe is the most fundamental truth of Scripture. So many people get lost in attempting to explain or prove this truth through scientific observation. While there is much evidence in the creation to demonstrate the existence of a creator, we cannot observe the past. We know God as creator through the revelation of the Torah.

But the Torah reveals much more than this basic truth. Not only does our existence derive from God, he is also our savior.

The impression I have is that most people don't think they need a savior. While they may admit that they need a little help now and again, people tend to think that they can make it through life on their own.

But the reality is that we are very fragile creatures. It really doesn't take much to bring us down. Without food and water it would not take too long before we would die. Illness or injury can bring premature death. The recent disastrous events in New York and Washington vividly showed us how helpless we can be at times.

This crisis is causing us to look for solutions, for protection, for help. While there is much that could and should be done, we must remember that no matter what we do, unless God saves us, we are doomed.

The good news is that he has made himself available to us, but first we must accept how much we really need his help.

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