by Rabbi Chaim Dovid Green
This week's parsha contains the account of the creation of the world. Here
are a few ideas which are quoted from sages of previous generations.
"In the beginning G-d created etc." To begin with (In the beginning) we
need to know that G-d created the heavens and the earth.
The Rabbi of Sossov
"In the beginning G-d created heaven and earth, and the earth was empty and
void." If 'in the beginning' (of one's day) a person takes to heart that
G-d created heaven and earth, then the earth will be empty and void - he
will place the proper emphasis on the physical aspect of his existence
here, and realize that physical existence is empty and void (if it isn't
for the sake of his spiritual existence).
"And G-d said let there be light."
It is known that a small light disperses much darkness. If someone enters a
dark room and wants to "remove" the darkness, no tool will do the job.
However, if he will light a small light, the darkness will quickly be gone.
This is an important lesson for all, that when we find ourselves in
"darkness" we should not despair, for "a bit of light disperses much
This portion of the Torah is traditionally learned with children who are
beginning their careers of Torah study. These words of Torah are the
initial source of their faith and trust in G-d. From this Jewish children
learn to be strong in their convictions and know that G-d will undoubtedly
be at their side. How crucial it is that it be taught to Jewish children
unadulterated. How unfortunate it is that some have come to "innovate" the
way it is taught. They teach it as "tales" and dilute or negate its
positive effect on the faith of their students.
Paraphrased from The Chofetz Chaim on the Torah
"And it was evening (first) and (then) it was morning; one day."
Figuratively speaking, night represents pain and suffering. Day represents
light and salvation." For the righteous, day follows the evening. The path
of the good may start out dark and painful, but in the end, it is bright,
shiny and pleasant. For the evil, their path begins pleasant, but it ends
with darkness and suffering. This is also the reason why the Sabbath comes
on the seventh day of the week. It teaches us that there is a reward in the
end for our pain and difficulties which we endure initially by taking the
path of the good.
"And G-d blessed the seventh day." He blessed it with a bright countenance,
for the countenance of a person during the week is not the same as it is on
The custom of reciting seven special blessings in the presence of a new
bride and groom can only be done when there is someone new among the
participants. However, on the Sabbath, this need is obviated. The reason is
because G-d blessed the Sabbath with a "bright countenance." According to
our sages every person manifests a different countenance on the Sabbath.
Even yesterday's participants are "new faces" on the Sabbath.
"And the woman said to the serpent: 'from the fruit of the garden we may
eat, but from the fruit of the tree in the middle of garden G-d said not to
eat from it or touch it'."
Eve added to the commandment saying that she should not even touch the tree
of knowledge. G-d did not tell them to avoid touching it. From here we see
that adding to something can ultimately come to detracting from it. Not
only did she end up touching the tree, but she even ate from its fruit.
In reality, what did Eve do wrong by adding an extra stringency to the
order to avoid eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge? Didn't she
just want to avoid breaking G-d's will? Her mistake was in saying that
G-d said not to touch the tree. She should have qualified that this was
her own added stringency. Even when something is very important to us, G-d
didn't say we should do it unless He said it.
Text Copyright © 1998 Rabbi Dovid Green and
Project Genesis, Inc.