Underground New York Public Library

The Underground New York Public Library is a visual library featuring the Reading-Riders of the NYC subways.
This project is not affiliated with The New York Public Library

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"The Torah with Rashi’s Commentary: Vol. 1, Genesis," Edited by Rabbi Yisrael Herczeg

Borrow I Read

I went up to him after I took the picture, to find out what he was reading. He welcomed my interruption seamlessly; it was like he had been expecting me. He showed me that he was reading commentary on The Book of Genesis. Then he asked me, “Do you want to hear a great idea?” I said yes happily. He said he was concentrating on the very first sentence in Genesis, where it mentions what was created in the world first. He pointed at the sentence in his book and said, “If you read the full sentence, it says that the sky and the earth were created first. But, if you read just the first half of the sentence, the Hebrew word in the middle reveals that it was actually the alphabet that was created before anything else.” He took his finger off the page then, and he pointed at the subway doors. “You see these subway doors,” he told me, “they really are made of metal.” In a quieter tone, full of meditative¬†curiosity, he continued. “At their foundation though, they’re really made of letters.” He lowered his hand then and looked around the subway car, in a way as if he was literally reading the atmosphere.¬†

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