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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

The Open Table

Welcome to Sefer Breisheet, to the once again-ness of beginning of the study of torah.

What a thrill! There are so many ideas waiting to be discovered, so many people to learn from. A year, please God, of unending potential.

I was intrigued a number of months ago by a discussion that the rabbis had about what was created by God during the last few minutes before the first Sabbath began. (see the source below in blue ink) I began to wonder, after an inspiring podcast with Mayim Bialik, (link included below,) what if God had also created a vehicle for study during that last few minutes of rushed creation. And what if that object was a table; an open table for study?

I wanted this first post of this budding new year (one of a number of new years, indeed!) to be an invitation for all of us to come and sit at that table. I think that this little piece is indeed a midrash and imagines something that is not listed below, but it is indeed an invitation to all of us to join the learners at the table of torah study.

They have been, they are and they will continue to meet at the table.

I will meet you there!

And so it begins!

The Open Table

The hour was late. The sounds of the garden were muted as the minutes between sunset and moonrise connected. All was created, the perfect petals of flowers, the iridescent wings of insects, the wet noses of the animals, the clouds and the sea.

Even woman and man were created,

perhaps the pinnacle of God's creation?

Filled with unlimited creative potential,

as God had created them in God's image.

And God looked at God's creation, from the smallest sea creature to the planets above and The Creator saw that it was good, yet there was something missing, something absent.

And God knew what was missing and so God created the table.

This table, this open table is a table for all to come and to sit.

A table for questions.

A table for discussion.

A table for study.

A table for inquiry.

A table for dreaming.

A table for exchanging ideas.

A table for inspiration.

A table for curiosity.

A table with past, present and future knowledge.

A table made to last for time immemorial .

A table that travels with us,

no matter where we go

or our circumstances.

North, south, east, west.

Rich or poor.

Any age, any gender.

Morning, noon or evening.

A table open for anyone to learn.

And it is now The Beginning,

so sit down at the table.

It is close to you, right by your side.

Sit for a moment, for an hour.

Sit with those who lived hundreds of years ago.

And sit with those who learn now.

Drink in their voices as you would fine wine.

Add your own.

The table is rich with words, with ideas,

with arguments, with thought.

It is your Torah.

It is your table.

It is our table.

And so the learning continues.

And the learners, they await you,

your thoughts, your questions,

your struggles, your answers.

You're invited to sit at the table.

And so the act of creation continues

well past the borders of The Garden,

as we now sit at the table of generations.

And it was very good.

And it is very good,


The heaven and the earth were finished, and all their array.

On the seventh day God finished the work that He had been doing, and He ceased (Or “rested” )on the seventh day from all the work that He had done.

Genesis 2: 1-2 (translation from Sefaria)

"Ten things were created on the eve of the Sabbath at twilight, and these are they: [1] the mouth of the earth, [2] the mouth of the well, [3] the mouth of the donkey, [4] the rainbow, [5] the manna, [6] the staff [of Moses], [7] the shamir, [8] the letters, [9] the writing, [10] and the tablets. And some say: also the demons, the grave of Moses, and the ram of Abraham, our father. And some say: and also tongs, made with tongs." Pirkei Avot 5:7

(translation from Sefaria)

I was inspired recently by the idea of there a place at the table for all learners at any point. (The Study, podcast by Raviv Ullman, Episode 1,, featuring Mayim Bialik)

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