“When God began to create the Heaven and the Earth.” Thus begins the narrative of the Torah as translated by Robert Alter. The JPS translation begins the same way. Gunter Plaut’s translation begins the same way. Hertz begins Bereshit, “In the beginning God Created the Heaven and the Earth,” borrowing from the King James Bible. Everett Fox begins his translation of the Torah, “At the beginning of God’s creating of the Heavens and the Earth.” The starting point of the Torah is “In the beginning.”
Every race begins with a start. Every game begins with a start. Every student in the United States begins with kindergarten. There is a reason that graduation ceremonies are called “Commencements:” The graduartes are beginning a new phase of their lives.
I always tell my children, “Starts don’t matter. When you finish matters.” This is a partial list of people who attained success after 40: Samuel L. Jackson, Martha Stewart, Abraham Lincoln, Ray Kroc, Sam Walton, Miguel De Cervantes, Julia Child, “Colonel” Harland Sanders, Charles Darwin, Peter Mark Roget (of Roget’s Thesaurus), Anna Moses (better known as Grandma Moses).
The Torah finishes with moral lessons and family values. We are still reading the Torah 2500 years later, and to many observers, 3000 years later. And Every year, we have new insights in the Torah. The Torah has infinite observations of the Human existence, and we will read the Torah 2000 years in the future, and we will have new insights 2000 years in the future.
By the way, the Torah records the exploits of a man who attained success at age 80. Moses. Starts don’t matter, but finishes matter.