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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Parshas Vzos Habracha


Ch. 1, v. 1: "Breishis" - In the beginning of - Character development and a proper Torah attitude are paramount in the development of a ben Yisroel. One who has only Torah knowledge is not only lacking the basics, but it can even be to his detriment. The Rambam in Moreh N'vuchim writes that one who has a disparaging attitude towards mitzvos can be put to death by the court. This surely is a barometer of the importance of the above. If so, why doesn't the Torah clearly spell out that we should develop proper character traits and have certain attitudes?

Rabbi Chaim Vi'tal answers this with a parable. A builder made a documented contract with someone to build a home to certain specifications. The details were all laid out in the contract. Upon completion of the home the contractor asked for a sum that was larger than agreed upon in the contract. When questioned about this, he responded that the cost of laying a proper foundation was not factored into the final cost, so it was now added. The customer indignantly disagreed. He said that it was obvious that a foundation was included in the contract even if not spelled out, because it is impossible to build a safe durable home without a proper foundation. He was obviously in the right. So too, for one to be Torah observant and a true servant of Hashem it is surely obvious that character refinement and a proper Torah attitude are foundations, and need not be spelled out.

He adds that the greater the Torah scholar, it is as if we have a building of more and more storey, requiring even deeper digging into the ground and a stronger foundation.

Ch. 1, v. 1: "Breishis" - In the beginning of - M.R. relates that Hashem originally created worlds and destroyed them, until the present world was created. What is the point of doing this and not immediately building a world of (some) permanence at the first go?

This teaches us that even if we have not behaved properly, we may try and try again to behave properly, predicated upon our repenting properly. (Yalkut Dovid)

Ch. 1, v. 1: "Breishis" - In the beginning of - The last letter of the Torah is a Lamed, while the first is a Beis. They create the word "LeiV," heart. The verse in Koheles 10:2 says "Leiv chochom limino v'leiv k'sil lismolo," - the heart of a wise man is to his right, while the heart of the fool is to his left. We can say that this refers to one who does and one who doesn't review his studies. To review requires one to turn to the right, as in Loshon Hakodesh the already studied material is to one's right, while new material on upcoming columns or pages is to the left. The verse tells us that one who reviews, i.e. he turns his heart to the right, is a wise person, and one who always is interested in studying new material, turning his heart only to the left, but not reviewing, is a fool.

When we reach the end of the Torah, the final letter Lamed, we have the choice to study other matters and not review the Torah, or to turn to the right, and start from the beginning again, connecting the Lamed to the Beis of Breishis, and creating the word Leiv by turning to the right. (Shomati hadran)

Ch. 1, v. 1: "Breishis" - In the beginning of - Every word that has six letters, and none of which is a repetition, has 720 permutations, that is, 720 possible combinations. Thus the first word of the Torah, Breishis, has this amount of combinations. Thus the entirety of the Torah's 613 mitzvos and the additional 7 Rabbinic mitzvos are alluded to in this word. Indeed, the word KeSeR, a crown, has the same numerical value. Another allusion to this is "roSH d'vorCHo emeS" (T'hilim 119:160), again indication the head of Hashem's words, the word Breishis, is truth, and has the numerical concept of 720 contained, the same as the final letters of these 3 words. (HaGaon Rabbi Yoseif Nisim in Maa'seh Vreishis)

As well, the oral Torah is alluded to in this first word of the Torah. The word "Breishis" can be split into two to create "Bro Shis," outside six. This refers to the six sections of mishnoh, Zro'im, Mo'eid, Noshim, N'zikin, Kodoshim, and Taharos, which are outside of the written Torah. (Sifsei Kohein)

Ch. 1, v. 1: "Breishis" - In the beginning of - Just as this word relates the beginning of Hashem's creation of the world it alludes to the beginning of each person's personal creation, the mitzvoh of procreating and bringing another generation into existence. This is done by first marrying a woman. The gemara P'sochim 49a says that one should only marry the daughter of a Torah scholar. If we take the letters of Breishis and move them around we have, Yud-Sin-Alef-Beis-Tof-Reish, which spells "Yisa bas Reish," one should marry the daughter of a head, a torah scholar. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 1, v. 1: "Breishis borro Elokim" - In the beginning of - The Torah is explained on four levels, Pshat, Remez, Drush, and Sode, - straightforward, allusion, homiletic, and hidden. The numerical value of these three first words of the Torah plus the number of letters equal 1,202, the same as Pshat, Remez, Drush, Sode. (B'eir Moshe)

Ch. 1, v. 11: "Eitz pri" - A fruit tree - Rashi writes that Hashem's intention was that the trees develop in such a manner that the taste of their fruit would be present in the wood of the tree itself. However, the earth did not produce such a result and the wood of the fruit trees does not taste like its fruit, save the esrog, which complied. When Odom was punished for partaking of the forbidden fruit the earth was likewise punished. Why did Hashem wait until then to punish the earth? Had all the trees developed according to Hashem's wish, then Odom would not have eaten from the forbidden tree as there would have been nothing unique about the esrog. However, since it was the only one that complied, Odom had a great desire to taste of the fruits of the only tree that was faithful to Hashem's command, the esrog, which according to the gemara Sanhedrin and M.R. 15:7 was an esrog. Thus when Odom was punished it was most befitting to punish the earth as well. (Divrei Dovid)

Ch. 1, v. 26: "Naa'seh odom" - Let US make man - M.R. 8:8 says that when Hashem dictated these words to Moshe to write into the Torah, Moshe asked, "Why do you give such a broad opportunity to the deniers of One G-d". Hashem responded that it should be written as dictated and whoever has an interest in going on the wrong path will do so.

The Torah is perfect and those who seek to find fault will do so. It is told that there was a disagreement in a school about introducing an "abridged" text of the Torah for young children that was "sanitized," with sections that contained stories of "misbehaviour" being expunged.

Rabbi Mordechai Gifter was invited to attend this get-together, and when he heard this suggestion he strongly opposed it, stating that any change to the Torah is blasphemous. When asked about the possible negative affects that could come from the "naughty" stories in the Torah, he roared, "The Torah is pure and clean!" Nothing negative can come from learning it properly. (Shomati)

Ch. 1, v. 31: "V'hi'nei tov m'ode" - And behold it is exceedingly good - The M.R. 9:7 says that "tov" refers to the good inclination, while "m'ode" refers to the evil inclination. This enigmatic statement can be understood in the following light: Even good, when carried to an extreme can become negative. The evil inclination disguises bad, which is bad by virtue of being extreme, i.e. always being merciful, in the cloak of good. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 2, v. 12: "V'evven habdolach - And the crystal - The gemara B.K. 30 says, "He who wants to be a Chosid should study what?" Rabbi Yehudoh said "n'zikin." Rovo said "Ovos." Others say that he said "Brochos." All this is alluded to in these two words. EVveN is an acronym for Ovos, Brochos, and N'zikin. "Habdolach" is an acronym for Hai Bo'I Di Li'hevi Chasida. (Chasam Sofer)

Ch. 3, v. 1: "Af ki omar Elokim" - Even though Elokim said - "Af" also means a nose. "Ki" can be translated as "when." The snake belittled Hashem's prohibition, twitching his nose when he said "Elokim said to not eat from this tree." (Nirreh li)



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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