In the Jewish world all over the globe, it’s time to read through the cycle of the Torah once again!

Posted on Simcha Torah (the rejoicing over the Teachings of the Torah) 2014

This week’s haftarah is from the Book of Isaiah, chosen because it refers to the creation of the world. In the Torah portion, G-d creates light and darkness for the entire universe. In the haftarah, Isaiah says, “I will turn darkness before them to light.” Here, the darkness refers to the Israelites not obeying G-d’s laws and the covenant. So the Israelites find themselves in the darkness of exile out of the land of Israel.

In contrast, G-d reminds the people that He created them to be “a light of the nation, opening eyes deprived of light, rescuing prisoners from confinement, from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.”

Isaiah refers to the people Israel as the covenant people, a light of nations. What does it mean to be a light of nations? Does it mean to be better than the other nations? Does the light refer to the ideas of the people of Israel?

There are several opportunities for Israel and the Jewish people to be a light of the nations. For example, the prophet Micah speaks to the people and says, “Only do justice, love goodness and walk modestly with your G-d.” This is certainly an ideal to work toward.

Another example where Israel serves as a light of the nations is found in the kiddush we recite on Shabbat. The kiddush teaches us to treat our animals, servants and strangers as we do ourselves — with a day of rest. In today’s world, Israel has developed technology and medical advances that have helped the world. In the area of politics, Golda Meir set a good example for women trying to reach high goals.

As I become a bat mitzvah, I hope also to contribute to Israel, the light of our nation. I plan to do this by continuing to contribute to our sister city, Ashkelon, and to other projects in Israel and to take as many trips as possible there, where I can continue to make connections with my homeland.

Sophie Getz is a seventh-grade student at Krieger Schechter Day School.

Jerusalem Channel comment: yes, indeed, taking trips to Israel is a way to contribute not only to the nation’s economy but also to one’s spiritual well being, because every trip to the Promised Land is revelatory.