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Triennial Cycle

09/28/2021 02:59:31 PM


The Torah is long. It is also packed full of information. The Torah contains 5,888 (or 5,845 depending who you ask) Verses, 79,847 Hebrew words and 304,805 letters.  Rabbi Akiba believed that each of these words and letters was vitally important and packed with meaning.  Akiba believed the Torah came straight from the mouth of God.  Since the Torah came from God he reasoned there could be no extra or superfluous words. He spent his life dissecting everything he could, squeezing meaning out of every single word and letter in the Torah.

Now I don't know if every word is meant to be there but it is a fun and meaningful way to approach the text. The issue arises of how one gets through all of those words in one hour of Torah study a week. Even divided into 54 weekly Parashot, it is impossible. In Orthodox communities, they read the entire parasha from beginning to end during their Saturday morning Torah service.  As a result, their Torah service takes a long, long, time.

To avoid extra-long Torah services, the Conservative movement came up with a solution called the triennial cycle. What they did was divide each week’s Torah reading into a third. This way one could get through the entire Torah in three years and not have to sit in synagogue for hours on end.

Anyone who's been to our studies knows that we do deep dives into the words, chapters, verses and lessons of the Torah. It is a lot of fun and very meaningful.  The problem arises that we sometimes end up going over the same chapters every year.

To rectify this situation, we will be adopting the triennial calendar to our Torah studies this year. This means each year we will study 1/3 of that week’s parasha so that by the end of three years we will have studied the entire Torah.

We will be using the triennial calendar that was put out by the conservative movement in 1989 (Here is the article for those who are interested.)

Now hopefully we'll be able to get through more material and enrich our Torah knowledge. I hope you will join me on this exciting adventure as we meet Saturday mornings at 9:00 AM in person and via zoom. Shabbat Shalom.

Thu, October 28 2021 22 Cheshvan 5782