by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS BREISHIS 5763 BS"D
Ch. 1, v. 1: "Breishis" - In the beginning of - This word is written with an enlarged letter Beis. The numerical value of this word plus an added 2 calculated for the double height and width of the letter Beis equals that of the verse "Shma Yisroel" (Dvorim 6:4). This is most appropriate, as the Holy Zohar writes that in the word "Breishis" lies the hidden understanding of the unity of Hashem. Rabbi Yehudoh haNossi emulated this in the mishneh by starting with the laws of the reading of "krias shma." (Chid"o in Pnei Dovid)
Ch. 1, v. 1: "Breishis" - In the beginning of - The numerical value of this word is 913, equal to that of tarya"g and "yeitzer." Perhaps this teaches us that Hashem created the world in a manner that all people have an inclination to pursue worldly matters and it is only through following the dictates of the Torah and its 613 mitzvos that one can counter his inclination, "borosi yeitzer hora borosi lo Torah tavlin" (gemara Kidushin 30b).
Ch. 1, v. 1: "Breishis" - In the beginning of - The mishneh Pirkei Ovos 5:1 states that the world was created through 10 utterances. This is alluded to in the word "Breishis." Its six letters can form "b'yud a'reshes," - with 10 utterances. (Chid"o in Pnei Dovid)
Ch. 1, v. 1: "Breishis Borro Elokim" - In the beginning of Hashem's creating - The numerical value of the first letters of these three words, Beis-Beis-Alef equals 5, the equivalent of the letter Hei. Perhaps the significance of this is that the gemara M'nochos 29b derives from the verse in Yeshayohu 26:4 that this world was created with the letter Hei.
Ch. 1, v. 1: "BorrO ElokiM eiS" - Hashem's creating - The final letters of these three words spell the word EMES. We find this another 5 times in the section of creation, "va'yar(A) ElokiM eS" (v. 4), "va'yivroO ElokiM eS" (v. 21), "va'yivroO ElokiM eS" (v. 24), "va'yar(A) ElokiM eS" (v. 31), and "borO ElokiM laasoS" (2:3). This is mentioned in the slichos prayers of erev Rosh Hashonoh in the slichoh starting with the word "emes."
Rabbeinu Efrayim writes that to correspond with these 6 times that "emes" is alluded to in the creation of the world, our Rabbis have placed the word "emes" into the prayer "ezras avoseinu" six times.
Ch. 1, v. 1: "Eis" - This word appears in the Torah numerous times, and no doubt is often overlooked as a word of any importance. Even though it has no translation in many cases it serves a most important purpose. Let us begin by stating that there are two word form sources for ES, one being the simple Alef-Tof word and a second form whose original source is Alef-Tof-Tof. This second form has an intrinsic meaning of WITH. This is the basis for the words "iti, itcho, ito, itonu," etc., a combination of WITH and a suffix pronoun. Our EIS has no translation but serves the purpose of clarifying the recipient of the action. For example: If we have the expression, "Shimon hikoh Levi," we are not sure if the meaning of this is "Shimon (what happened to him?), Levi hit." It can also mean "Shimon hit Levi." With the word ES inserted, "Shimon hikoh ES Levi," this can only be understood to mean that Shimon did the action to Levi.
If not for the word EIS being placed here we might ch"v misinterpret our verse to be saying that in the beginning, the entity Shomayim created Elokim. (Expanded explanation of gemara Chagigoh 12a)
Ch. 1, v. 2: "Hashomayim" - The heavens - The word "shom" not only means "there," but also connotes being distanced, as we find by Yoseif when he was incarcerated, "Va'y'hi SHOM b'veis hasohar." The words "va'y'hi shom" seem totally superfluous. However, the intention is that not only was Yoseif distanced from his family, but now that he was also in jail, he was even more distanced. The heavens are so distanced from us that their name means "doubly distanced," as indicated by the "ayim" suffix, as in "raglayim, einayim," etc. (Haksav V'hakaboloh)
Ch. 1, v. 2: "Hamoyim" - The water - Why does this word always appear in the plural form? The Ibn Ezra answers that there are male and female waters. (I have come across the term "mayim nukvin" in the "tefiloh zakoh" prayer said on erev Yom Kippur.) Abarbenel answers that there are fine droplets that compose water. Torah M'iroh #125 answers because there are two components in water, the sour part and the water part. Perhaps he is referring to ocean water, which is salty.
Ch. 1, v. 3: "Y'hi ohr" - There shall be light - What is the difference between "y'h'yeh" and "y'hi"?
1) They mean the same thing, but "y'hi" is used when the subject is something that does not grow or bear fruit. There is a nuance of permanence in the word "y'hi." (Tosfos Hasho'leim)
2) "Y'hi" is used when the creation of the object is from a pre-existent object. (Aderres Eliyohu)
3) "Y'hi" is used when the object is not tangible. (Maskil l'Dovid) 4) "Y'h'yeh" means that there will be, a statement of fact regarding the future. "Y'hi" is a command that something shall take place, in our case the existence of light. (Haksav V'hakaboloh)
5) The Holy Zohar explains the difference in Breishis page 232b and Shmos page 176-177 (l'yodei chei"n).
Ch. 1, v. 4: "Va'yavdeil Elokim bein ho'ohr u'vein hachoshech" - And Hashem separated between the light and between the darkness - Our Rabbis tell us (M.R. 3:6, Tanchuma parshas Tazria #9) that Hashem does not place His name on bad, as is derived from our verse. The beis haLevi explains that this is not to be derived from the omission of the word Elokim by "choshech," since Elokim is already mentioned earlier, and it is evident that Elokim refers to both "ohr" and "choshech." Rather the proof is from the fact that "ohr" is mentioned earlier than "choshech," even though darkness precedes light. The reason they were reversed in our verse is so that the name Elokim not be placed next to darkness.
Ch. 1, v. 4: "Bein ho'ohr u'vein hachoshech" - Between the light and between the darkness - Why is "bein" used twice? It would suffice to say "bein ho'ohr v'hachoshech." Abarbenel answers that even within light and darkness themselves there are separate levels of density. The N'tzi"v answers that when the divider itself has some properties of the two items that it divides, in our case the time called "bein hashmoshos," which has some light and some darkness in it, the term "bein" must be used twice.
Ch. 1, v. 14: "Y'hi m'oros .. v'hoyu l'osos ul'moadim" - There shall be luminaries .. and they shall serve as signs and set times - The Jewish calendar is based upon the cycle of the moon, albeit that it must dovetail with the solar seasons, since Pesach must fall in the month of the spring season. When we announce the beginning of the new lunar cycle, we state that it will be on this and this day, in the evening or morning, etc, at this hour plus this minute plus this CHEILEK, or fraction of a minute. We never announce a time that has more than 17 CHALOKIM. This is simply because our Rabbis have divided a minute into 18 sections, each section being 3 and 1/3rd seconds, i.e. 1,080 CHALOKIM to an hour.
Why haven't they broken a minute into 60 parts just as they calculate an hour as 60 minutes? Rabbi Yoseif Chaim Sonnenfeld answers that this was done so that when calculating a lunar cycle we will have no fractions of a second, as a lunar cycle is completed in 29 days, 12 hours, and 793/1,080ths of an hour. He finds an allusion to this in the verse in T'hilim (104:19, "Ossoh yo'rei'ach l'mo'adim," - He has created the moon for set times, whose numerical value is 793!
Ch. 3, v. 12: "Ho'ishoh asher nosatoh imodi" - That woman that You gave to be with me - The gemara A.Z. 5b says that we may derive from these words of Odom that he was an ingrate. The gemara Y'vomos 63b interprets the words in Eichoh 1:14, "N'sonani Hashem bi'dei lo uchal kum," - Hashem has placed me into the hands of one who makes it impossible for me to stand, as referring to a person who is married to a bad woman whom he should really divorce, but unfortunately her "ksuvoh" payment is very large. Thus he is stuck with her. How does the gemara derive this from that verse? The M.R. 17:1 on the words "E'e'seh lo eizer k'negdo" (2:18) says that a man is capable of bringing home grain kernels and flax from the field, the result of his agricultural pursuits. Can he then eat raw kernels? Can he wear flax stalks? His wife prepares the grain and turns it into bread, and likewise, she prepares the flax and turns it into cloth, thus enlightening her husband's eyes and "putting him on his feet." The gemara Sanhedrin 110a says that a person's possessions put him "put him on his feet."
Thus when a person has a bad wife and to divorce her would put him in the poor house, he is indeed in the hands of a situation where he cannot stand on his feet, "bi'dei lo uchal kum." (Pardes Yoseif)
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