It occurred to me as I was driving to work today that reading Torah has a few things in common with writing an article.
Writers sometimes say they like having written, rather than actually writing. As a Torah-reading newbie – this morning’s Rosh Chodesh service was my third time – I was happy when I finished, knowing that I’d made it through the longest of the four readings.
I also realized, as I practiced for this morning, that I would single out a particular phrase or word that was difficult, and work at it until I got it right (or a reasonable approximation). In the same way, when I’m writing, I often fine-tune a word or phrase after I’ve written it.
Writing, like reading Torah, is a skill that can be learned. In high school, I had a hard time figuring out how to put together a coherent essay. But you do what you have to do – and my friend, who was a good English student, helped me. It wasn’t until after I’d graduated from university that I took my first writing course, and discovered latent skills.
Earlier this year, I signed up for a Trope class with my sister, to learn to read Torah. We shared the reading this morning, as we’ve done the past two months, along with one of our classmates.
Funny thing – just like writing – reading Torah is something I never pictured myself doing.