Parsha Bereishis – פָּרָשָׁה בְּרֵאשִׁית

http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/8165/jewish/Chapter-1.htm#v=1&showrashi=true

בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָֽרֶץ

In the beginning of God’s creation of the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:1–6:8

פָּרָשָׁה בְּרֵאשִׁית

Rashi comments:

בראשית: אמר רבי יצחק לא היה צריך להתחיל [את] התורה אלא (שמות יב ב) מהחודש הזה לכם, שהיא מצוה ראשונה שנצטוו [בה] ישראל, ומה טעם פתח בבראשית, משום (תהלים קיא ו) כח מעשיו הגיד לעמו לתת להם נחלת גוים, שאם יאמרו אומות העולם לישראל לסטים אתם, שכבשתם ארצות שבעה גוים, הם אומרים להם כל הארץ של הקב”ה היא, הוא בראה ונתנה לאשר ישר בעיניו, ברצונו נתנה להם וברצונו נטלה מהם ונתנה לנו:

In the beginning: Said Rabbi Isaac: It was not necessary to begin the Torah except from “This month is to you,” (Exod. 12:2) which is the first commandment that the Israelites were commanded, (for the main purpose of the Torah is its commandments, and although several commandments are found in Genesis, e.g., circumcision and the prohibition of eating the thigh sinew, they could have been included together with the other commandments). Now for what reason did He commence with “In the beginning?” Because of [the verse] “The strength of His works He related to His people, to give them the inheritance of the nations” (Ps. 111:6). For if the nations of the world should say to Israel, “You are robbers, for you conquered by force the lands of the seven nations [of Canaan],” they will reply, “The entire earth belongs to the Holy One, blessed be He; He created it (this we learn from the story of the Creation) and gave it to whomever He deemed proper When He wished, He gave it to them, and when He wished, He took it away from them and gave it to us.

 

בראשית ברא: אין המקרא הזה אומר אלא דרשני, כמו שדרשוהו רבותינו ז”ל בשביל התורה שנקראת (משלי ח כב) ראשית דרכו, ובשביל ישראל שנקראו (ירמיה ב ג) ראשית תבואתו. ואם באת לפרשו כפשוטו כך פרשהו בראשית בריאת שמים וארץ והארץ היתה תהו ובהו וחשך ויאמר א-להים יהי אור. ולא בא המקרא להורות סדר הבריאה לומר שאלו קדמו, שאם בא להורות כך, היה לו לכתוב בראשונה ברא את השמים וגו’, שאין לך ראשית במקרא שאינו דבוק לתיבה של אחריו, כמו (שם כו א) בראשית ממלכות יהויקים, (בראשית י י) ראשית ממלכתו, (דברים יח ד) ראשית דגנך, אף כאן אתה אומר בראשית ברא א-להים וגו’, כמו בראשית ברוא. ודומה לו (הושע א ב) תחלת דבר ה’ בהושע, כלומר תחלת דבורו של הקב”ה בהושע, ויאמר ה’ אל הושע וגו’. ואם תאמר להורות בא שאלו תחלה נבראו, ופירושו בראשית הכל ברא אלו, ויש לך מקראות שמקצרים לשונם וממעטים תיבה אחת, כמו (איוב ג י) כי לא סגר דלתי בטני, ולא פירש מי הסוגר, וכמו (ישעיה ח ד) ישא את חיל דמשק, ולא פירש מי ישאנו, וכמו (עמוס ו יב) אם יחרוש בבקרים, ולא פירש אם יחרוש אדם בבקרים, וכמו (ישעיה מו י) מגיד מראשית אחרית, ולא פירש מגיד מראשית דבר אחרית דבר. אם כן תמה על עצמך, שהרי המים קדמו, שהרי כתיב ורוח א-להים מרחפת על פני המים, ועדיין לא גלה המקרא בריית המים מתי היתה, הא למדת שקדמו המים לארץ. ועוד שהשמים מאש ומים נבראו, על כרחך לא לימד המקרא סדר המוקדמים והמאוחרים כלום:

In the beginning of God’s creation of: Heb. בְּרֵאשִית בָּרָא. This verse calls for a midrashic interpretation [because according to its simple interpretation, the vowelization of the word בָּרָא, should be different, as Rashi explains further]. It teaches us that the sequence of the Creation as written is impossible, as is written immediately below] as our Rabbis stated (Letters of R. Akiva , letter “beth” ; Gen. Rabbah 1:6; Lev. Rabbah 36:4): [God created the world] for the sake of the Torah, which is called (Prov. 8:22): “the beginning of His way,” and for the sake of Israel, who are called (Jer. 2:3) “the first of His grain.” But if you wish to explain it according to its simple meaning, explain it thus: “At the beginning of the creation of heaven and earth, the earth was astonishing with emptiness, and darkness…and God said, ‘Let there be light.’” But Scripture did not come to teach the sequence of the Creation, to say that these came first, for if it came to teach this, it should have written:“At first (בָּרִאשׁוֹנָה) He created the heavens and the earth,” for there is no רֵאשִׁית in Scripture that is not connected to the following word, [i.e., in the construct state] like (ibid. 27:1):“In the beginning of (בְּרֵאשִית) the reign of Jehoiakim” ; (below 10:10)“the beginning of (רֵאשִׁית) his reign” ; (Deut. 18:4)“the first (רֵאשִׁית) of your corn.” Here too, you say בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אלֹהִים, like בְּרֵאשִׁית בְּרֹא, in the beginning of creating. And similar to this is,“At the beginning of the Lord’s speaking (דִּבֶּר) to Hosea,” (Hos. 1:2), i.e., at the beginning of the speaking (דִּבּוּרוֹ) of the Holy One, Blessed be He, to Hosea, “the Lord said to Hosea, etc.” Now if you say that it came to teach that these (i.e., heaven and earth) were created first, and that its meaning is: In the beginning of all, He created these-and that there are elliptical verses that omit one word, like (Job 3:10): “For [He] did not shut the doors of my [mother’s] womb,” and it does not explain who it was who shut [the womb]; and like (Isa. 8:4): “he will carry off the wealth of Damascus,” and it does not explain who will carry it off; and like (Amos 6:12): “or will one plow with cattle,” and it does not explain: “if a man will plow with cattle” ; and like (Isa. 46: 10): “telling the end from the beginning,” and it does not explain that [it means] telling the end of a matter from the beginning of a matter-if so, [if you say that Scripture indicates the order of creation] be astounded at yourself, for the water preceded, as it is written: “and the spirit of God hovered over the face of the water,” and Scripture did not yet disclose when the creation of water took place! From this you learn that the water preceded the earth. Moreover, the heavens were created from fire and water. Perforce, you must admit that Scripture did not teach us anything about the sequence of the earlier and the later [acts of creation].

 

ברא א-להים: ולא אמר ברא ה’, שבתחלה עלה במחשבה לבראתו במדת הדין, ראה שאין העולם מתקיים, הקדים מדת רחמים ושתפה למדת הדין, היינו דכתיב (להלן ב ד) ביום עשות ה’ א-להים ארץ ושמים:

God’s creation of the heavens and the earth: But it does not say “of the Lord’s creation of” (i.e., it should say “of the Lord God’s creation of” as below 2:4 “on the day that the Lord God made earth and heaven”) for in the beginning it was His intention to create it with the Divine Standard of Justice, but he perceived that the world would not endure; so He preceded it with the Divine Standard of Mercy, allying it with the Divine Standard of Justice, and that is the reason it is written:“on the day the Lord God made earth and heaven.”

read more:

 http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/8165/jewish/Chapter-1.htm#v=1&showrashi=true

 

Parshat Bereishit Chabad Resources

http://www.chabad.org/parshah/default_cdo/aid/7781/jewish/Bereishit.htm

 

Practical Parshah—Bereishit
Be Fruitful and Multiply

http://www.chabad.org/multimedia/media_cdo/aid/468778/jewish/Kabbalah-on-the-Bible-Bereishit.htm

 

 

Kabbalah on the Bible – Bereishit

http://www.chabad.org/multimedia/media_cdo/aid/468778/jewish/Kabbalah-on-the-Bible-Bereishit.htm

 

 

Adam & Eve, a new twist to an old story…

B”H

Here is a proposal for a partial transcription
of a very interesting audio conference by Rabbi Manis Friedman, entitled:

A New Twist To An Old Story

Please listen to the audio in the original Chabad page:
http://www.chabad.org/multimedia/media_cdo/aid/470789/jewish/Old-Story-New-Twist.htm

Transcription begins at minute 15:49:

So here is how Chassidus completes the picture
and gives us the story behind the story:

Before they ate from the Tree of Knowledge, they were completely holy, totally innocent, completely G-dly, the world was pure, innocent, and evil existed because G-d created night and day, so G-d created darkness and evil, but the evil was in the snake. So the snake was the personification of evil, and Adam & Eve were the personification of G-dliness; and that’s the way it would have remained.

That there would be evil in the world and there would be goodness in the world, but they would be separate realities, separate entities, and the human being in their righteousness would avoid the snake, reject the snake, kill the snake. So there would be this battle between good and evil, but the good guys would be the good guys, and the bad guys would be the bad guys.

So G-d says to Adam & Eve –this is the story now– you are the good guys, the snake is evil, you are not going to listen to the snake. That part was clear, that part was easy. But then G-d said: there is also a tree, whose fruits you can not eat. How they understand this? The tree is not the snake, it’s not evil, but you can’t eat it; why not? So G-d says: because the tree is a tree of knowledge of good and evil, it’s a mixture, it’s not quite evil and it’s not quite good, it’s a mixture of good and evil. And the day that you eat from that tree, you will die.

Which, by the way, Adam & Eve heard that as a hint to eat from the tree and die; otherwise, why would G-d have to say that? Why would G-d have to tell to perfectly innocent G-dly beings that if you violate my commandment you will die? They were not about to violate any commandments.

When you raise your children, when you tell them right from wrong, you don’t do that. You don’t say: I don’t ever want to see you do this, and if you do, I’ll punish you. Why would you want to put negative thoughts in their mind? What do you mean, if they do? They won’t! They can’t! They mustn’t!

So as soon as you say: and the day you do this you will die; it’s almost like saying: and there will come a day when you will do it. They understood subtleties, and they got the message that there is a possibility that they should do it, and die.

So they understood it this way: there are two possibilities in this world, one is that the holy remains holy, the evil remains evil. And by avoiding the evil the holy gained credit and virtue in that they rejected the evil. But basically, the people would be צדיקים (tzadikim), saints, always, and when you are a צדיק (tzadik) you live forever because death comes from unholiness. In holiness there is no interruption, there’s no death. So they would be צדיקים (tzadikim), they would be perfectly righteous, and they would live forever in a G-dly state, in a G-dly universe called The Garden of Eden.

Where exactly is this Garden of Eden? The whole world was a Garden of Eden. Once they ate from the Tree of Knowledge, the whole world became what it is now. So when it says they were thrown from the Garden of Eden it doesn’t mean any one particular place, they were thrown out of a universe, out of an Earth that was completely G-dly and holy into a world that was a mess.

That was one of the options that Adam & Chava heard, they could remain perfectly righteous, don’t touch that tree, leave the evil and the snake, avoid the snake, and you are a צדיק (tzadik)! And you will live forever, and everything will always be holy, and it will be just wonderful.
The other option they heard was: you eat from the tree, you come in contact with evil, at least with a mixture of good and evil, you die, you’re not immortal anymore, and you don’t live in a perfectly holy condition called The Garden of Eden.

Those were the options.
What point is there to sinning and dying and not living in the Garden of Eden? That you do תשובה (teshuva). So you eat from the tree and it diminishes you, but then you do תשובה (teshuva) and you bounce back. So, in simple words, Adam & Chava had a choice: either to be a צדיק (tzadik) or to be a בעל תשובה‎‎ (ba’al teshuvah).

Those were the options.
And those are still the options. Only with Adam & Chava it wasn’t a personal thing, they didn’t exist for themselves, they existed as the prototypes of human beings. So whatever decision they made, or were going to make, was a decision for the human race, not for themselves. So, to them the question was: do they want their children and grandchildren forevermore to be צדיקים (tzadikim), or do they want to have children who will be בעל תשובה‎‎ (ba’al teshuvah)? That was the challenge handed to them.

So they went through the following reasoning, they thought to themselves like this: this is G-d’s world, which He created just today, and in this world where there’s no corruption, because nobody lived yet to corrupt the world, in this perfect creation that G-d had just recently said it is very good, into this Garden of Eden G-d places a tree from which you may not eat. Why? What is unholiness doing in the Garden of Eden?

Having been told that they are responsible for this Garden of Eden this question became more than just a philosophical or theological question, it became a very personal question. G-d said: you are responsible for this garden. Well, the first glaring need that this garden had was to get rid of this unholy tree, because the rest of the garden was wonderful. There was just this one tree that just didn’t belong. It’s a tree you can’t eat from. Why? Because it’s not G-dly, it’s not good. Then what’s it doing in G-d’s garden and what were they supposed to do about it?

Adam basically said: don’t touch it, leave it alone. Leave it alone! This is G-d’s garden, and if he put a tree in it that isn’t כָּשֵׁר (kosher), He’ll fix it. Leave it alone! Because if we try to fix it we’ll diminish ourselves. He knew exactly what it would cost to eat from the tree. They wouldn’t be immortal, they would have to work hard, they would become slaves of this world rather than its masters, and so on. He said: don’t do it, leave it alone!

Chava said: but what’s it gonna be? Can’t just have one unholy tree in G-d’s garden, we need to do something about it. And if it hurts… well, sometimes in carrying out your responsibilities you pay a price. To clean up a messy situation you’ve got to get yourself dirty, or get at least your hands dirty. So let’s get our hands dirty, but let’s clean this up.

That was their debate: let evil take care of itself, or let G-d take care of the evil, and Chava was saying: we’ve got to clean this up, and whatever price, whatever cost, we’ve got to do it, we can not allow unholiness to grow in G-d’s garden.

Part of the instruction that G-d had given them was that this prohibition against eating from the Tree of Knowledge would only last until שַׁבָּת (Shabbos). On שַׁבָּת (Shabbos) they would be allowed to eat from the tree. Which only makes the story more difficult to understand, they could have waited a couple of hours, and then eaten from the tree legally, because all of this happened on Friday afternoon, a few hours before שַׁבָּת (Shabbos).

In fact, one commentary says that Adam was so פֿרום (frum, Yiddish adjective meaning “devout” or “pious”), he was so religious that he had to eat from the tree because there is a מנהג (minhag), there is a custom that before שַׁבָּת (Shabbos) you are supposed to taste from the foods that you are going to eat on שַׁבָּת (Shabbos). Hey, a tradition! So he was following the tradition and he tasted the tree because he was going to eat it on שַׁבָּת (Shabbos).

So it only makes the story harder to understand, but here’s what their reasoning was: why is it that the tree is not כָּשֵׁר (kosher), you are not allowed to eat from it, if you do you’ll change the entire nature of human beings forevermore, but on שַׁבָּת (Shabbos) yeah, you can eat it… in a couple of hours… now, if you eat it you’ll die, but in a couple of hours, yeah, you can eat it.

Once שַׁבָּת (Shabbos) would come, the holiness of שַׁבָּת (Shabbos) would envelope even this tree, and even this tree would become a little holier as a result of שַׁבָּת (Shabbos), the influence of שַׁבָּת (Shabbos). So Adam said: we don’t have to eat it and die, let’s wait until שַׁבָּת (Shabbos), then we’ll eat it because it will be holier, it will be כָּשֵׁר (kosher) then, and once we eat from that tree it won’t be evil anymore, it will be part of us. So we will have elevated that tree to a level of G-dliness, and we will have fixed the whole problem.

Chava said: no, we can’t wait! Why? Because if we eat from the tree when it’s שַׁבָּת (Shabbos) then we really haven’t fixed the tree. שַׁבָּת (Shabbos) came along and added its holiness to the tree, but the unholiness of the tree we never dealt with. So we never really cleaned up that unholiness, we simply coated it with the holiness of שַׁבָּת (Shabbos); so you’re just painting over the problem or you’re sweeping it under the rug, you’re not really fixing it.

When the Jews came out of Egypt it was a whitewash, Egypt hadn’t changed, the world hadn’t gotten better. We escaped from Egypt, but that didn’t fix Egypt, and that’s why for the rest of history Egypt has always been a problem, not our best friends, ever.

When מָשִׁיחַ (Moshiach) comes we won’t leave unholiness and go to a place of holiness, because then we’ll only slip back again. With the coming of מָשִׁיחַ (Moshiach) it’s not that we’ll abandon the unholy in favor of the holy, when מָשִׁיחַ (Moshiach) comes there won’t be any unholy, it will all have gotten fixed because we got our hands dirty. We went to all the countries, lived in all those countries, did our מִצְווֹת (mitzvos) in all those countries, until even those countries have become Holy Lands.

So, if we go to Israel with מָשִׁיחַ (Moshiach) it’s not to escape the unholiness, because there won’t be any unholiness.

That’s the difference between what Adam was suggesting and what Chava was arguing. Adam was saying: let שַׁבָּת (Shabbos) coat the tree with its holiness and then it will be כָּשֵׁר (kosher) enough to eat… and Chava was saying: yeah, but it will always keep hunting us, it will keep coming back because inherently, internally, you haven’t changed the tree, you’ve just colored it nice.

So if you don’t deal with the unholiness of the tree but you bring holiness to it from Heaven, that’s not fixing, that’s a shortcut. We have to eat from it! We have to deal with it! We have to get our hands dirty and pay the price. Only then it will be fixed for keeps, for real.
And so she ate from it, and convinced him to do the same. And again, this was for the benefit of their children, not so much for their own benefit. So basically what they had decided to do by eating from the tree, they have decided that they prefer to have children who will be בעל תשובה‎‎ (ba’al teshuvah), and not צדיקים (tzadikim). Because the צדיק (tzadik) avoids evil but he doesn’t fix it.

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(this present proposal for transcription ends herein at minute 34, please do listen to the complete audio here: http://www.chabad.org/multimedia/media_cdo/aid/470789/jewish/Old-Story-New-Twist.htm )