“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
“And G-d created the Human in His image… He created them male and female.”
For many of us, Bereishit (Genesis) is a book of talking snakes, sudden floods and babbling towers, ideas we relegate to the realm of children’s stories. But that is not its true legacy. Sometimes just one line of Genesis has been enough to overturn centuries of tyranny; because it is indeed the Handbook for Humanity.
When Pico della Mirandola inaugurated the Renaissance with his ‘Oration on the Dignity of Man’, Genesis provided his inspiration and when Thomas Jefferson looked to create a new type of government in the United States, the vision of Bereishit, the ultimate book of Beginnings, gave voice to the Declaration of Independence. Indeed, when one studies it, one realises that it is not some book of tales describing the creation of the world and the lineage of the Jewish people. It presents a coherent and comprehensive dialogue on how all human beings should live as creative individuals in society and how we can build sustainable and productive communities.
How should we reconcile our perception of morality and Hashem’s? What is the perfect balance between individual rights and duties, on the one hand, and social cohesion on the other? What is moral leadership? These are just some of the questions it poses.
Join the Academy and Dr. Dean Lutrin in partnership with Sydenham Shul for a four-part exploration of Bereishit’s moral vision for all Humanity: the Individual, the Family, and the whole of Society.