The Devarim-Beraishis Bridge Idea
The Chasam Sofer notes that the Torah’s last word, “Yisrael” and its first one, “Braishis,” share the letters aleph, shin, resh and yud… spelling ashrei.
Ashrei can be translated as “praiseworthy” or “fortunate.” That latter meaning may be the key to the “bridge idea” connecting the end of the Torah and its beginning, which we seek to connect on Simchas Torah when we complete the yearly Torah-cycle and begin it anew.
Because central to the very idea of the Torah and the people to whom it was given is the need to recognize how truly fortunate we are – to have been granted existence and the opportunity to play a role in the Divine plan, to daily receive Hashem’s gifts of life and sustenance, to be part of Klal Yisrael. That recognition should inform every Jew’s world-view.
And the joy that it yields should be front and center in our minds during z’man simchaseinu and Simchas Torah.