Reading Torah on Zoom with a Traumatic Brain Injury

By Tamar Ramos

Torah Trope Cantillation

I have a traumatic brain injury. I found learning to read and write Biblical Hebrew, as well as reading the Torah with trope to be very helpful with my brain injury. Learning Hebrew and reading the Torah is like playing an instrument and for me that happens to be the guitar. During my studies, the two sides of my brain talk to each other. The left and the right side of my brain work together for these achievements, which helps my brain development. I had a positive feeling when I read for the congregation on Saturday, August 8, as I was able to recognize words and I was able to understand the power in the parsha that I read. When I read the aliyah, I knew that it was speaking to all of us who heard it that morning, as well as the Israelites way long ago. When Moses was speaking to the Israelites, he was also speaking to us at Sof Ma’arav at the same time.  The words that I read were very deep and meaningful to my life.


My interpretation of the words are – you can either live by this or you won’t; it is your choice. God fed us, though we knew Him not, and He hungered us in order to humble us, of which we knew not. He did this for the generations that came out of Egypt as slaves. The words were carried from generation to generation right up to us today. Whether we live by His laws or not, is up to us. I will always remember the last line of the aliyah, which translates “man does not live by bread alone, but by the word of God.” Here is a partial translation of my reading:


You shall remember all the way which HaShem your G-d has led you these forty years in the wilderness that He might humble you, to prove you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments, or not. He humbled you, and allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you didn’t know, neither did your fathers know; that He might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of HaShem does man live.


A Trope Trainer translation Shabbat Triennial year one in Devarim: Eikev 8:2-3

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