Everybody loves a good story. A good story takes hold of the imagination and provides a window into the human soul.
The stories of the book of Genesis are the oldest stories in the world, yet they continue to inspire countless retellings and adaptations. They retain their power because they deal with the most powerful of human motives: the quests for love, purpose, identity, and redemption. They also explore the inner obstacles that threaten these goals: lust, greed, hatred and jealousy.
When you explore these stories, you will identify with characters who grapple with the feelings and dilemmas that are at the heart of the human experience. You will see how their stories are also the stories of YOUR life, reflecting your joy and your pain, your struggles and your victories. And you will learn how the Torah’s eternal values provide insight that helps you respond more thoughtfully as you face critical moments of your own.
All cultures have creation stories to describe how we got here. But the Torah tells us about our creation to let us know what we are here for. By examining the idyllic nature of the garden of Eden, we can better understand the special purpose for which man and woman were created.
Is it possible that being good is overrated? The serpent made the case for evil and managed to convince Eve that there were real benefits to disobeying G-d's commands. This lesson delves into the very essence of evil - its purpose, its possibilities, and its pitfalls.
Can we ever reclaim innocence? In a few short moments, Adam and Eve destroyed a perfect world and were immediately wracked with shame and regret. Then Adam and Eve were taught about repentance and its ability to transform and redeem.
Cain and Abel responded to the catastrophe of the expulsion from Eden in different ways: Cain became a farmer, focusing primarily on worldly pursuits, while Abel became a shepherd, preoccupied with the spiritual. Ultimately, neither worldview was sustainable.
The generation of the flood is a story of a wealthy, technologically advanced society that was so evil that it had to be washed away. How are we able to better guard against the evils bred by material excess? In this lesson, we consider why societies are destroyed, and how they may be rehabilitated.
Noah, in spite of his righteousness, was not able to influence others. Yet Abraham taught a world of idol worshippers to believe in G-d. Why did Abraham succeed where Noah failed? And how can we embrace the legacy of our father Abraham, leading those around us to seek goodness and truth?