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    End of the book – P’kudei

    This Shabbat marks the end of the second Book of the Torah, Sh’mot. Whenever we reach the end of a book or any other undertaking, we celebrate – and then we immediately get on with the next Book or task. Nothing in life must ever be allowed to be the end unless it is also a new beginning.

    The baby boy reaches the end of his first week of life; with his b’rit milah he moves into his infancy and childhood. He comes to his Bar-Mitzvah and progresses into a life of observance of the commandments, as does a girl with her Bat-Mitzvah.

    Bride and groom reach the end of their preparatory years and enter into marriage. A person retires but should have new challenges waiting in the wings. Earthly life concludes but the afterlife opens up with its new spiritual opportunities.

    In every case the stage needs to be set in advance for the next act.

    How this applies to the baby, who is not yet aware of the great events that life will bring, is a challenge for the parents. Already before the child is born, or at the very least by the end of the first week, they should have their plans in train for the religious and cultural future of the new arrival.

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