by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS BREISHIS 5764 BS"D
Ch. 1, v. 1: "BreishiS borO ElokiM" - In the beginning of Hashem's creating - It is a common custom for an author to place his name either in the title of his work or in the beginning of the work. This is based upon Hashem placing His Seal in the first three words of the Torah, "BreishiS borO ElokiM," whose final letters spell out EmeS, Hashem's seal (gemara Shabbos 55a).
Ch. 1, v. 1: "Breishis boro Elokim" - In the beginning of Hashem's creating - It is the opinion of almost all Torah-true authorities that the world is now 5764 years old. Geologists, through carbon dating and other methods claim that the world is much much older. They have found bones of creatures that are not around today, called dinosaurs and claim that they lived on the face of this earth millions of years ago. The M.R. on the words "v'hi'nei tov m'ode" (1:31) says that Hashem created worlds and destroyed them time and again, until He created our present world and allowed it to remain, subject to the bnei Yisroel's accepting the Torah later on.
The N'tzi"v says that according to the M.R. it might be possible to say that the previous worlds were living creatures which were larger and different from those we now have, and perhaps the aged bones that are found are those of previous worlds. However, he discards this, as the M.R. says that the destruction of previous worlds was not bringing life to an end, but rather, turning the creation back into "tohu vovohu," vast emptiness.
He and the Malbim offer that the severe conditions brought about by the great deluge lowered these creatures to the depths of the earth, numerous strata below where they would have otherwise been found. This also caused the bones to age very quickly.
Once the subject of Hashem's creating worlds and destroying them has been brought up, an explanation is in place for the necessity to do this, as no doubt, Hashem could have just as effortlessly created the present world at the first go. Perhaps this was done and taught to us so that we more strongly appreciate our existence.
Ch. 1, v. 11: "Eisev mazria zera l'mi'neihu v'eitz oseh pri l'mino asher zaro vo" - Grass that develops seed to their species and a tree that produces fruit to its species which has seed within it - The change from "mazria zera" to "asher zaro vo" can be explained as follows: Some vegetation does not grow with its seed. Rather when it begins to wither it gives forth a new growth that develops into new plants, such as grass and some cabbages, hence "mazria zera." An apple tree grows apples which have seeds in them from an early stage. This is "asher zaro vo." (Rabbi E.D. Pal shlit"a)
Ch. 2, v. 17: "U'mei'eitz hadaas tov voro" - And from the tree of knowledge of good and bad - The chapter of "eitz hadaas tov voro" is one of the most complex in all the Torah. A common explanation which sounds quite understandable, but is actually very deep is that until now mankind had no inclination to do that which is wrong, although he had free choice to do so. With the eating of the fruit of this tree mankind brought into his psyche a blurring of the borders between right and wrong, creating an evil inclination within his being, allowing himself to want to sin and even finding justification for this. Let these few words suffice for this particular explanation.
We find the root form of the word Yud-Dalet-Ayin in the verse "V'ho'odom YoDA es Chavoh ishto" (4:1) to mean that they physically JOINED. Likewise, according to this insight into primary man's sin we should translate "eitz haDAAS tov voro" as "a tree that JOINS good and bad," i.e. it brings into the nature of man the inclination to do either good or ch"v bad.
Ch. 3, v. 1: "Af ki omar Elokim lo sochlu mikole eitz hagon" - Even though Elokim said you shall not eat from all the trees of the garden - It seems as if the snake never completed his sentence. Perhaps we can say that he clearly told Chavoh to eat from the prohibited tree. Place a comma after the word "lo" and we have, "Even though Hashem said 'no,' eat from ALL trees of the garden (even the one He prohibited)." (Nirreh li)
Ch. 3, v. 7: "Va'yis'p'ru a'lei s'einoh" - And they stitched together leaves of a fig tree - The gemara Sanhedrin 70b says that according to the opinion that the prohibited tree was a fig tree it is most appropriate that they sewed together a garment made of fig leaves, so that they could rectify their sin with the same item with which they sinned. This rectifies it because they had a visual continuous reminder of their sin, prompting them to repent. (Shaar Bas Rabim)
Ch. 4, v. 3: "Mipri ho'adomoh" - From the produce of the earth - Rashi (M.R.) says that Kayin brought an inferior offering, poorly developed flax. How do we see this from the verse? "Mipri" has the numerical value of "gru'im" (i"h). (Nirreh li) How do we know that it was flax? If we spell out the word "korbon" in "milluy" the final letters are Pei-Shin-Tof-Nun. Final letters allude to the end, the low end. (Kli Yokor)
Ch. 4, v. 7: "La'pesach chatos roveitz" - At the door opening sin crouches - The simplest toll the evil inclination uses in convincing a person to sin is by fooling him into thinking that this sin is not really a sin. Translate "la'pesach chatos roveitz" as "sin crouches at the door of permissiveness," a "pesach hetter." (GR"A)
Ch. 4, v. 9: "Vayomer lo yodati hashomer ochi onochi" - And he said I do not know am I then the protector who guards his brother - Once Kayin said that he did not know, what was added by "hashomer .."? The gemara B.M. 34 says that when a guard is asked what happened to the item that he was to safe-keep and he responds that he does not know, he is held responsible to replace it. Thus Kayin said that not only did he not know, but that he never undertook to be his brothers safe-keeper, as otherwise he would still be held responsible for Hevel's disappearance. (Eishel Avrohom)
Ch. 6, v. 3: "B'shagom hu vosor" - Considering that he is flesh - The gemara Chulin 139b says that we have an allusion to Moshe from these words of our verse. "B'shagom" has the numerical value of Moshe and he lived 120 years, as our verse ends, "v'hoyu yomov mei'oh v'esrim shonoh." This is a most puzzling statement, since Moshe is not only alluded to in the Torah, he is clearly mentioned in the Torah more times than any other person.
Upon reading all that happened with Moshe we might incorrectly conclude that he was not even human, but rather, a spiritual being who walked the surface of this physical world, as were the angels who came down from the heavens and lived here (verses 2 and 4). The Torah therefore teaches us right here, between the verses of heavenly angels falling greatly from their spiritual high, that there was a human who did the exact opposite. He was a human, born of man and woman, and only lived 120 years, as all mankind is destined to die. Yet he elevated himself to the level of angels, entering the heavens and bringing us the Holy Torah.
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