>>Thu Oct 11, 2012
We just concluded the amazing celebration of Simchat Torah – the holiday during which we finish the Torah and immediately start again from the beginning. Symbolizing the not only the Jewish People’s love for the Torah but also the cyclical nature of Torah study, Simchat Torah is a joyous and celebratory holiday during which we drink and sing and dance, parading our scrolls of parchment.
While I love the festivities of Simchat Torah, I recently became inspired by the recurring cycle of Torah study and the fact that as soon as we finish with Dvarim, we immediately commence with B’reishit.
The last chapter of the Torah is called V’zot Habracha or “This is the blessing.” It tells us about the blessing Moses bestowed on the Children of Israel before he dies, and concludes with the words “and for all the great might and awesome power that Moses displayed before all Israel.” And then we start with the words “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
How powerful is this transition? As soon as Moses dies and Joshua takes his place, we dive into the chain of events that enabled Moses to become the greatest prophet in the Torah (“Never again did there arise in Israel a prophet like Moses” Dvarim 34:10). We become witnesses not only to one of the greatest creation stories, but also to one of the greatest leaders in our collective history.
Through Moses we draw inspiration from his epic examples of leadership, and through God’s creation story we draw inspiration from the act of building something from “nothing.”
At PresenTense we use both of these stories as analogies in our business development curriculum: Moses and the Exodus from Egypt to represent Vision, Market Context and Target Market, and God and the creation story to teach the importance of prototyping, because after each day of creation God steps back, reflects and asserts “ki tov” (it is good).
In this spirit of this week’s Torah portion let’s focus on B’reishit, the beauty of creation and the resulting energy that drives PresenTense and our network.
There is a deep and profound mystery in creation and innovation. Taking a concept, a vision, an inspiration, and turning that unrelenting drive into something that can be touched, experienced or felt is a captivating phenomenon.
Think about the world’s obsession with Facebook’s Founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. For those of you who saw “The Social Network,” it is almost comical to watch Jesse Eisenberg sitting in his dorm room, hacking and blogging and building the first iteration of Facebook when you know that today Facebook has over one BILLION subscribers. But at the same time it is mesmerizing to witness the process because it feels like you were a part of journey.
Who is the founder of your favorite business? Steve Jobs from Apple? Tony Hsieh from Zappos? The baker at your favorite local bakery? The glass blower in Nahalat Binyamin? What drives them? How many challenges did they need to overcome? What did they put on the line?
It takes a tremendous amount of conviction and an openness to risk to start something. In the same way that a songwriter puts his/her heart on a piece of paper, a founder puts his/her heart on the bottom line because of the belief that their vision will make a difference. (Whether that difference is financial or societal, well, that is another question…)
Creators, Creatives, Innovators and Entrepreneurs are inspired and inspiring. Through their triumphs (and failures) they challenge all of us to think, “What would I do?” “How could I do that better?” or “What a genius idea! Why didn’t I think of that?”
The Jewish people are blessed with a rich history of creators from which we can draw constant inspiration – biblically, historically, religiously, philosophically, technologically, legally etc… It appears that we have a knack for creation and are able to harness that creative energy to bring goodness into the world.
PresenTense is in awe of this process. And we are dedicated to support those who are inspired to create, and bundle their creative journeys to inspire those around them. Whether they succeed or whether they fail, our Fellows follow in the footsteps of the great history that preceded them. And who knows, maybe we’ll find the next epic creation story to inscribe in our books and inspire the future.